Preferred options for £12million improvements to Worthing revealed

Plans for improvements to the northern end of South Street near the Guildbourne Shopping Centre
Plans for improvements to the northern end of South Street near the Guildbourne Shopping Centre

Preferred options for £12million investment in Worthing town centre have been revealed.

Following the revamp of Montague Place in 2016, West Sussex County Council and Worthing Borough Council have identified a further package of improvements to the town’s public realm.

Preferred options for projects in eight areas across Worthing are detailed in a strategic outline business case published last week.

The county council has allocated £5million towards three of the eight areas: Portland Road, South Street North and South Street South.

The remaining five would be funded from developer contributions, money from businesses and direct delivery by developers.

These are Montague Place, Liverpool Gardens, the town hall, Chapel Road and Teville Gate.

In South Street the entrance of the Guildbourne Shopping Centre would be revised to provide inclusive access and create more of a feature of the arrival area.

The wider junction would form part of a shared surface area running the length of South Street to slow traffic and give pedestrians priority as well as opening up the area for events.

The current road layout would be revised, including the removal of the bus stops, to offer maximum space for pedestrians east and west.

The Marine Parade roundabout would be removed to increase pedestrian and event space outside the Pier, and the inclusion of a shared-surface junction in contrasting colour creates a more pedestrian-friendly connection between South Street and the Pier entrance. In Portland Road, the preferred option would

see the width of the carriageway reduced and street parking removed to create a shared surface between Shelley Road and Chandos Road to lower traffic speeds and improve pedestrian safety.

A new avenue planting of small trees has been included around Portland Square and Rhapsody Court, while contrasting paving would be used to define ‘courtyards’ to allow for spill-out space for cafes and restaurants.

At the southern end of Portland Road a second shared surface area would be created to give pedestrians priority at the same time as retaining existing delivery space and access.

The county council is set to release £400,000 to develop the projects through to public consultation and the detailed design phase.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We believe these are bold, exciting and innovative ideas, which would bring better connectivity and a host of enhancements to Worthing town centre’s street scene.

“The ideas are likely to evolve as we now move into the detailed design stage for the public spaces in Portland Road, South Street South and South Street North.

“This multi-million-pound makeover is part of the Growth Deal which will see the county council and Worthing Borough Council working in partnership to make regeneration in the area a reality.”

Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s executive member for regeneration, added: “I’m really pleased to see these first two schemes come forward so that the public can see we are determined to revitalise some of the main thoroughfares in the town.

“We want visitors and residents alike to have a pleasant experience walking from the top of our town to the seafront. I believe these schemes open up the place so people can more appreciate what fine buildings, first class retail and leisure opportunities and beautiful vistas we have.

“I am delighted to be working with the county council on something that will make a tremendous difference to the feel of the place.”

The plans form part of a Growth Deal agreed by the two authorities last year.

The work also feeds in to Worthing Borough Council’s Seafront Investment Plan, which was launched last year and envisages promenade improvements which will link to the public realm work.

The investment plan also includes proposals to create a natural lagoon for water sports, the creation of new restaurants in seafront shelters at West Buildings and Steyne Gardens and an overall improvement to the seafront offer.

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