Worthing Town Centre: Heatwave should 'kick-start' trade for local businesses

A Worthing business owner said this week’s unprecedented heatwave has affected trade in the town centre – but hopes the boost in morale will lead to long-term benefits.

Temperatures in the UK topped 40 degrees Celsius for the first time ever on Tuesday – but they peaked at 30 in the seaside town of Worthing.

Restaurateur Andy Sparsis, who is the director of the Worthing Town Centre Initiative, said a ‘few days of sun’ will hopefully lift people’s spirits.

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"It gets people out their houses and moving around,” he said. “Everybody feels better when it's hot.

People enjoying the heatwave at Worthing beach 18/07/22. Pic S Robards SR2207181

"It will increase business eventually, which will be a great kick-start for Worthing.

"We’ve got new umbrellas and plants in Portland Road so that will be packed in the summer.

"As much as people will have lost business, and retail has been down in Worthing, but people will be happier and start spending. This will benefit hospitality in the high streets.”

Andy, who runs The Fat Greek Taverna in Portland Road and The Fish Factory in Worthing’s Brighton Road and East Street in Littlehampton, said he had to shorten the opening hours during the heatwave – and closed completely on Monday and Tuesday.

People enjoying the heatwave at Worthing beach 18/07/22. Pic S Robards SR2207181

He made the decision for the health and well-being of staff.

He said: “In a kitchen, we've measured temperatures of 45, 56, 47 before.

“If you are a chef, doing an eight to ten hour shift in 47 degree heat, you literally will collapse.

“Everyone goes out in the evening when it cools down but, by that point, staff have been working and sweating literally all day long.

People enjoying the heatwave at Worthing beach 18/07/22. Pic S Robards SR2207181

"From a mental health point of view, we have to deal with people differently.

"It does affect trade because you can't operate the same way.”

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said cafés and restaurants – and the air-conditioned TK Maxx store – had been particularly popular in Worthing this week.

"We had average footfall for a Tuesday,” Sharon said.

People enjoying the heatwave at Worthing beach 18/07/22. Pic S Robards SR2207181

"At this time of year, we get three times as many people on the seafront as we do in in the shopping centre.

"I’ve been talking to colleagues in other towns and they've been really quiet.

“The sea breeze does help, here. Compared to what it's like in the centre, we are 10 degrees less here.

"It’s mostly been business as usual, really, as being a seaside town, we're already geared up for the heat.”

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