Plans for major investment in Worthing town centre parking

An artists's impression for the revamped Buckingham Road multi-storey

Cleaner, greener and safer car parking facilities are on their way to Worthing as part of a widespread investment to regenerate the town centre and support businesses post-COVID.

With the current Grafton car park set to be redeveloped in the next two to four years, Worthing Borough Council is embarking on an overarching strategy which will see the quality of provision improve and the quantity of spaces stay roughly the same.

A new multi-storey at the civic quarter will help to replace those at Grafton, enhanced facilities will be created at Union Place while the Council is also investing in upgrading High Street and Buckingham Road.

The investment has been called for by businesses and other organisations as the Council looks to provide modern facilities for those who need to travel by car while helping the tourism, hospitality and the night-time economy prosper.

Works on the first of those projects - Buckingham Road - should start later this year with the primary focus on essential repairs to the concrete and deck structure, which will extend the lifetime of the building for at least a further 20 years.

Enhanced lighting, clearer signs and bright decoration internally will make the split deck structure more attractive and safer for visitors while electric charging infrastructure will be provided throughout to encourage greener alternatives.

The designs include a revamped exterior which will improve the existing edge protection barrier to prevent falls and make the ten-storey mixed level car park more visible and attractive to customers.

Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said:

“This is a major investment by the Council in the borough as a whole, supporting the economic growth of the town centre and our wider regeneration ambitions.

“Whilst we are placing a firm emphasis on encouraging walking, cycling and public transport for local journeys, providing safe, secure and conveniently-located car parking remains a major factor for many people, particularly those with mobility issues.

“By creating a modern facility with EV charging infrastructure we are investing for now and the future. The upgraded lighting will also reduce emissions and help people feel safer when visiting the town in the evening.

“It’s something that is welcomed and backed by our vibrant retail, leisure, and business operators too who recognise the importance of providing a good first impression to visitors, something which is even more important now COVID restrictions are lifting.”

The investment in Buckingham Road, which is closely located to Montague Street and the seafront, has been carefully planned to ensure it preserves the lifetime of the structure while improving the internal layout for customers.

The public areas outside the car park will be improved too - something requested by businesses - while cladding has been designed using a range of colours which support the wider Time for Worthing place brand.

The number of spaces will remain unaltered and all disabled and dementia-friendly bays will remain.

Work should start later this year and be completed by next summer.

Sharon Clarke, town centre business manager at Worthing Town Centre Initiative, which represents more than 400 local businesses, said:

“Businesses are delighted with the planned investment into the town centre car parks.

“The results from the shopper survey, just before lockdown, identified that 53% of town centre users arrive by car and that easy access to clean, safe parking is essential for the ongoing health of the town and its business community. We also found that nearly 90% of visitors arrive by car, meaning that the car park is their first experience of Worthing town centre.

“As the saying goes you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so businesses fully support the Council’s investment into the car parks ensuring a positive impression of Worthing from the start of any trip.”

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