The latest on plans to ‘reinvigorate’ link between Worthing’s shops and seafront

Budgets totalling £363,000 are to be created to fund the first two phases of a project to ‘reinvigorate’ a link between Worthing town centre and the seafront.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 1:12 pm

Plans to pedestrianise and regenerate Montague Place have been on the table for a few years and have now taken a major step to finally being realised.

During a meeting of Adur & Worthing Councils’ joint strategic committee on Tuesday (July 13), members agreed that Worthing Borough Council should take on the project management and design responsibility for the work, with support from the county council.

Andy Willems, head of place & economy, said the project was a ‘fantastic opportunity to create a central heartbeat for the town centre’.

Montague Place was, historically, a peaceful open space providing residents and visitors an area to escape the hubbub of the promenade and main shopping streets.

More recently, though, it has been dominated by car parking, loading bays and used a drop-off point.

There was plenty of enthusiasm for the regeneration project, which is the latest part of the borough council’s Public Realm Programme.

Kevin Jenkins (Con,Gaisford) said the area at the moment was ‘not pretty’.

He added: “It is about creating a sense of place and a forum in the middle of our town which is sorely missing at the moment.

“We need to reinvigorate that space.

“It’s the opportunity to use that space really creatively, bringing different events into the area, different types of markets, different types of cultural events, different types of seasonal events in there.”

Mr Willems told the meeting that the first phase of the project would be funded by £163,000 from the government’s Welcome Back Fund – a £56million pot aimed at supporting a safe return to the high streets post-pandemic.

The work, which is expected to be complete by November, will see the area essentially ‘decluttered’, with the road levelled and space made for events and markets.

The idea is to also improve planting and lighting and introduce pocket parks to encourage people to spend time there.

Mr Willems said the first phase would give the council space to ‘experiment, test and consult on the main design’.

Phase two will be the main design phase and will be paid for with £200,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy – money paid to the council by developers building in the town.

The plan is to search for a company to carry out the construction work next autumn.

Mr Willems said all businesses along Montague Place had been visited in person to bring them up to date on the plans.

He assured the meeting that there would be ‘true community involvement’ in designing the final scheme.

Council eader Daniel Humphreys said the work was ‘overdue’, adding that it was up to the borough council to work with the county council to ‘kick this one along’.