Worthing Museum, the Lido and improved streetscapes linking attractions are the three central elements of the bid, to be submitted under the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which seeks to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.
Worthing Borough Council believes cultural and recreational development will strengthen civic pride among residents and drive ambition and opportunity for the arts, leisure and recreation, heritage and creative industries.
The council said plans include investing in rebuilding the structure of Worthing Lido so new plans for its use can be brought forward, in consultation with the public, and the transformation of the Worthing Museum & Art Gallery building ‘into a seamless, bright, spacious series of galleries to showcase the collections as well as significantly expanding education and research facilities’.
And plans for street design will aim to provide new opportunities for active travel, ‘creating a walkable, welcoming town centre’.
The council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Martin McCabe, said: “These are really important projects which could revive two important cultural assets while ensuring the town is connected through pleasant, safe and sustainable routes to allow residents and tourists alike to discover what has perhaps been hidden in the past, namely that we have a rich heritage to draw on.
“However I believe we really need to improve our cultural offer for both residents and tourists alike and create a strong identity for the town. That way we boost civic pride, support local creativity and also create a buzz about the town as somewhere to visit. All this will boost our economy but there’s much work to be done and success with these bids would give us a significant leg up.’
Mr McCabe said success with the bid was by no means certain, with councils across the country fighting for the same grants. But he pledged the council would continue to work hard to bring the projects to fruition, whatever the results of the process.
Work is continuing to finesse the bid ahead of a deadline to submit to the government by July 6.