Ambitious plans to create an attractive pedestrianised avenue between the seafront and town centre which can be used for community events and mini-festivals are set to be drawn up by Worthing Borough Council.
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. That was until the rise of motorised transport saw it turned into car parking, loading bays and drop-off point with turning circle.
With the COVID pandemic requiring more space in public areas, the Council introduced emergency road closures in the area and relocated parking spaces to allow local traders and businesses the chance to utilise the space.
Now, it wants to go a step further - making permanent the closure to traffic and providing flexible open space which can be used for cultural events, pop-up markets and community festivals. It will also be equipped with free Citizen WiFi and landscaping, making it more inviting to visitors.
The two-phase proposal would support further improvements to the town centre’s public realm with schemes in Portland Road and Railway Approach already being delivered in partnership with West Sussex County Council.
Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “As the country emerges from lockdown we’re keen to act quickly and do what we can to support our businesses and communities bounce back from COVID.
“As an under-used corridor between our popular seafront and town centre, Montague Place has so much potential and we’re confident that we can create a safe, exciting and inviting space for people of all ages to gather.
“The aim is to make better use of this under-used area in the long term. We know this will take time though, which is why we are keen to use the period it takes to draw up detailed plans to try out a number of options in the short term. These temporary changes will build on the feedback we have already received during the road closure of the last 12 months.
“We acknowledge that the proposals may have some impact on a small number of businesses and motorists. But we believe this opportunity to turn Montague Place into a real heartbeat of our town centre is too good not to pursue.”