What you want to see at Worthing’s Union Place

Union Place, in Worthing, to the rear, with the Guildbourne Centre in the foreground. Picture: Google
Union Place, in Worthing, to the rear, with the Guildbourne Centre in the foreground. Picture: Google

The future of a key Worthing town-centre redevelopment site is back on the agenda – but what should go there?

Yesterday, Worthing Borough Council announced it had bought the former police station site Union Place for £3.5million.

Council leader Dan Humphreys said: “For too long residents and businesses in Worthing have waited for firm proposals to come forward for Union Place. But in order to provide local people with jobs and homes we need to get moving on this. The key thing about today’s announcement is that we are now back in control.”

On the Herald’s Facebook page, the story attracted more than 150 comments from readers keen to share their thoughts on what the future should hold for the site.

Sheila Godwin, Luke Parsons, Connie Powis and Kit Bradshaw were among those calling for Primary to come to Worthing, but others were not so keen.

Simon Tullet said: “John Lewis or House of Fraser. Anything but Primark!” Emma laker said: “Definitely agree! Not a primark, pound shop or charity shop! House of Fraser or John Lewis would be great but I don’t see it happening. Although the new restaurant quarter will be nice no one will come to Worthing shopping and therefore eat if they don’t have decent shops.”

Another debated suggestion was a cinema complex, with some in favour and others less so. Jayn Stapleton said: “Please not a multiplex cinema. Would be the end of our great cinemas that are full or charm and character, and the end to being able to afford to take the family to the cinema. I’m sure the council can and will come up with something better and more imaginative than a multiplex!”

But Sarah Maskell argued there could be room for the Connaught and Dome as well as a new cinema. She said: “In other towns independent cinemas and large multiplex cinemas co-exist. They often specialise in different types of films and attract a different audience. More visitors to the town will benefit everyone.

Others suggested a permanent ice rink, with Mike Turrell saying: “Ideal site as already close to car parking, and it’s a popular pastime otherwise the temporary rinks wouldn’t keep coming back. We had four, possibly five in Sussex over the Christmas period.”

And Paul Phillips said: “Ice rink all day long. Worthing needs a new attraction that will make us different from other towns and cities on the south coast and would be a great family venue that can be used by all ages. It will bring money into Worthing from people who would travel into the town just for the rink.”

‘Something different’ was also in the mind of Jane Hartley, who said: “Why not create a North Laine-type of area with independent shops and cafés, etc., affordable to small businesses. It would create something different and bring something fresh to the town.”

And Allison Louise Allen said: “Something more active. An ice rink without a doubt, or trampoline park, escape rooms, a Crystal Maze? Something that people from Worthing have to travel a distance to visit that would encourage people to visit.”

Inevitably, housing was among the suggestions put forward by readers. Susanna Humphreys said homes were ‘essential’, while John Dowling said: “Affordable housing, nothing else.”

Tony Bellasis suggested the development could include the best of all worlds. He said: ”Connected to a revamped Guildbourne Centre it could become a new retail, entertainment and restaurant centre with underground parking and even housing above. It could include an ice rink and bowling alley and childrens’ play centre.”

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