How Worthing pier’s Southern Pavilion is being transformed ahead of cafe opening
Businessman Alex Hole is hoping to open his new cafe, Perch on the Pier, ‘sometime this summer’.
Mr Hole, who also runs the Perch cafe on Lancing beach, said: “Obviously this has been a terrible time so we want to help people get back to having fun as soon as we can.
‘One of the great things about the Perch at Lancing is seeing three or four families just gathering for something to eat or drink and just catching up.
“We want to see that coming back there and at the Pier.
“I think we all need a sustained period of celebration after this because I don’t think we’ve forgotten how to have a good time...it’ll take a little bit of time but I’m optimistic.”
Mr Hole and his team are focussed on restoring the pavilion building, which helped Worthing win Pier of the Year in 2019.
He is removing layers of previous work going back years so he can restore it to former glory.
Larger kitchens are necessary for the range of food and drink Perch will be offering.
“We are working hard on the renovation and really having to go back and put right about the last three renovations so we can get exactly what we want,” he said.
“There are big challenges working with a listed building but we are opening spaces that people will never have seen before, utilising the full potential of the space.”
Key to this is opening up the top floor of the pavilion which has been closed for years
Mr Hole said: “The views in the upstairs area are absolutely spectacular.
“When you see the light that comes through into the building it really will be a special experience to sit there.”
Perch on the Pier, when opened, will create 40 jobs.
Worthing Borough Council, which owns the pier, has contributed £130,000 to invest in a new sprinkler system for the new premises.
The Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Councillor Kevin Jenkins, said: “I am delighted that progress is being made.
“The Perch on the Pier is a perfect fit for the pier and entrepreneurs like Alex are going to help us bounce back from this pandemic both economically and socially.
“For our general well-being, to be able to enjoy a meal or a drink with friends whilst watching the sea and the views back onto Worthing at this fantastic venue is really something to look forward to.”