From the business desk: chain’s interest could provide welcome boost

Business reporter Oli Poole

Business reporter Oli Poole

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IN the past few weeks I’ve taken HMRC, private parking firms and even Brighton to task in this column – and in my opinion, rightly so.

So it gives me great pleasure to change tack a little to deliver some good news this week (and more on HMRC later).

The Herald and Gazette area has a set of improving town centres, all offering something a bit different.

Some areas, like Rowlands Road in Worthing, and parts of Littlehampton have great independents and family-run businesses.

These are crucial to creating a vibrant offer but the presence of a strong chain store will always pull in the crowds.

As reported in the Gazette this week, fashion and homeware giant Next could be heading to a new development on the Angmering and Rustington border.

Agents have pointed out the area is losing out to larger centres like Worthing and Chichester for fashion and footwear and with a dwindling offer of such items locally, Next’s arrival would surely be a big step forward.

There is, of course, a long way to go before everything is finalised but fingers crossed and watch this space.

In Worthing, the long-awaited Montague Street project appears to be gathering steam, with promises from County Hall the scheme will go ahead.

Delays had understandably lead to some uncertainty for traders and the Town Centre Initiative but thanks to some tenacious work by the town centre manager and local county councillors, things appear to finally be moving forward.

Will the new paving be enough to attract more big names to Worthing?