In 2021 I was asked to tender for the shelter in Steyne Gardens. The other shelter (West Buildings) had been awarded in 2017 to a company called Next Colour. They initially offered £100k for a 200 year lease and 10% of passing trade as rent to WBC to win the contract and trump other parties. However, this was overturned (after they won!) on appeal to £25k for a 200 year lease and 5% of passing trade. And then nothing. Grand plans were agreed for a modern Seaside café, but they have not materialised. And now it would appear the shelter is back on the market. A complete waste of Council time and money. Incompetance on a grand scale.

Below you can see our designs for the Steyne Shelter (based on the lovely smaller shelters along our wonderful promenade) and the write up from our tender document. I think you will agree it would have been magnificent. All I asked for was the same terms as Next Colour, a 200 year lease, £25k premium and 5% of passing trade. However, when heads of terms came in, WBC (under current leadership), changed the deal to a 100-year lease, £25k premium, 5% of passing trade and 5 year reviewable lease with rent based on rateable value, to start at £15k pa. What WBC were effectively saying to us – you spend £500k building it and we will screw you into the ground financially after you launch it. We walked away. Is it any wonder WBC are close to financial ruin, with our money? 

I have long suspected there are people within WBC, at senior level, who sit too to close to the companies tendering for contracts. If it looks like a duck…

Existing shelter design - click to enlarge
Pebble Beach Cafe - Steyne Gardens - click to enlarge

Extracts from our 2021 tender document.

Worthing is an historic seaside down with a fantastic promenade. I do not want to build a big modern sit-down restaurant – instead I want to build a compact, highly efficient café – something that looks like it has been there for over 100 years. The general style will be similar in appearance to the shelter opposite York Road. I have appendixes a shelter nearby (Goring) I want it to look and feel like. The café will serve the refreshment needs of people strolling along the promenade and enjoying the beach.

The upper deck will have an inner and outer bar area to allow people to sit on bar stools, drink coffee/tea etc, eat a sandwich and take in the fantastic views that will be all around. There will be a small band stand on the upper deck (maximum three musicians) where live (unamplified) music will play at the weekends. The wrought iron work will be either reclaimed or commissioned to look like existing structures and the decking will be similar to the Pier. To an outsider, people will assume the Pier and the café were built at the same time.

On the east, south and west side of the roof we will embed small solar panels that blend (as much as possible) into the roof. People viewing the building from the Pier should not be able to notice (obviously) the solar panels. It is hoped the building will be carbon neutral as electric power will only be used (predominantly) for daytime heating, fridges, dishwashers, heating water in the drinks machines. Food production will be made off site in another building that already has solar panels and is already carbon neutral. Deliveries will be by electric vehicle. We will require a single car loading bay where the current parking spaces are in front. In this way, as food production is offsite, the café can be relatively small but with high turnover.

The café will be designed to facilitate all age groups and will serve a range of products that will cater for all diets. There will be disabled access with a path leading onto the pebble beach and a flat disabled seating area. At present it is almost impossible for anyone in a wheel chair to enjoy looking at the pier on the beach unless carried over the pebbles.

The café will not have its own toilet facilities but will instead sponsor the upkeep and maintenance of the public toilets opposite the Dome. Within our business group our property maintenance company has a small cleaning company. We will clean and maintain the toilets at no cost to WBC and I am happy for this to be written into the head lease. I have attached a cleaning business reference. My goal would be to create one of the best public toilets on the South Coast in terms of look and feel, use and cleanliness.

As soon as electricity and water are available and the usage is changed from A1 to A3 the café can open immediately as the building currently is (after initial internal light modification and installation of equipment).

Alongside this a full planning application will be made to transform the building. Works will begin (subject to safety) around the existing operational café when planning permission is granted and a suitable building contractor is identified.

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