UPDATE: Council explains seafront train closure

Worthing Borough Council has explained why the seafront train is closing after it was announced in court.

Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 2:50 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:12 am
The promenade land train in Worthing is closing down. Picture: cc-by-sa/2.0 - Land Train, Worthing Seafront by Paul Gillett - geograph.org.uk/p/4086085.

In a statement, the council said it decided not to renew the licence because it was taking back the shelter used to store the train as part of its plans to renovate the seafront and because the owner wanted to sell the attraction.

A spokesman said: “Since we are planning significant work to improve our seafront offer, we felt that it wasn’t fair to offer any new owner a single year’s licence without storage. For these reasons, we exercised our right to give notice, as contained in the licence.”

The sad news of the closure was announced on Tuesday morning by the driver of the train, Sean Rowe, while he was being sentenced at Worthing Magistrates’ Court. He had previously pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.

The case related to an incident on July 17 last year. Rowe, of Wallace Avenue, West Worthing, was driving the train when he collided with Katie Schmidt who was walking with her son. He was ordered to pay £1,500 to her in compensation. For the full report, click here.

In its statement, Worthing Borough Council did not say whether the court case affected its decision.

After the sentencing, Mrs Schmidt expressed her sadness that the ‘beautiful attraction’ was closing. The firefighter said all she wanted was greater safety measures put in place, such as a speed restriction on the train and a continuous noise like a bell or music to alert people it was there.

On Facebook, people spoke of their sadness that the train was closing.

Gemma Metcalfe said: “Sad to see it go, my mum Sharon Clements went on this on her wedding day.”

Danyael Earl said she ‘loved popping on there with my little boy’. Margaret King added: “What a shame my granddaughter and I loved to ride the train”.

Many residents also called for the attraction to be brought back, with some saying a specific lane for it should be introduced by Worthing Borough Council in the style of Littlehampton’s seafront train.

The council has not ruled out bringing the train back.

In a statement, it said its plans to rejuvenate the seafront was an ‘exciting step change’ which would ‘attract more people to the borough’ and ‘help us create a distinctive, high-quality destination’.

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