Worthing bar fighting for future over restaurant conversion plans

One of Worthing’s most popular music venues faces an uncertain future amid plans to convert it into a restaurant.

Mark Knowles, 42, has run Bar42 in Marine Parade for nine years, but last month discovered his landlord had applied for permission to change the lease to a restaurant.

Having not been consulted and only finding out about the plans through a neighbour, Mark has called on Worthing Borough Council’s planners to save a venue that has been at the heart of Worthing’s music scene for almost a decade.

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“Without Bar42 I think Worthing would lose the one bar that’s an alternative in the town,” said Mark.

Bar 42, Marine Parade, Worthing. Pic: Google SUS-200519-174847001

“It’s a community hub where we all love listening to the same music and there’s a lot of people in the town that really rely on us.”

The new plans would see Bar42 converted into a 46-cover restaurant, which Mark argued is unnecessary along a seafront with an impressive array of eateries.

It would also see the loss of a venue that has been a launch pad for countless touring bands, as well as a vital destination for children and their parents.

“There’s a lot of affection for the place all over the country and we’ve had messages of support from bands all over Europe – our situation is a known thing among music venues everywhere,” said Mark.

Another restaurant along the seafront would also be out of sync with the local plan, Mark argued, which prioritises vibrancy along the stretch between the pier and the lido.

The application by Inspirational Consulting Ltd gives no rationale behind the decision, but states Bar42 has no employees – despite Mark retaining eight members of staff even during lockdown.

Inspirational Consulting Ltd has been approached for comment via its agent, Dead Space Designs.