Open letter to businesses in Worthing Town Centre
In January of this year Worthing Borough Council wrote to inform you about the issues being
experienced, our collective actions being taken and the challenges we have around
anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
We - the Council, Sussex Police and Worthing Town Centre Initiative - feel it is important to
provide you with another update.
Firstly, we know town centres are changing and appreciate that businesses are having to
work extremely hard through these challenging times. Thanks to your hard work Worthing’s
reputation as a place where people want to shop, visit and invest continues to grow.
It is important to us all that we continue to attract people into the town centre, making sure it
is a safe and welcoming environment where people want to spend time and money.
However, we share the concern about how recent events - particularly those which have
attracted a lot of social media attention - have created a negative impression.
We know these issues are not new and that Worthing - like other similar towns - is not
unique in experiencing these problems. However, the high-profile nature of some of this
anti-social behaviour has accelerated the need for organisations that support the town centre
- including you, the businesses - to come together and look at ways we can collectively
improve the situation for everyone.
What are we doing at the moment...
There are a number of evidence gathering and enforcement measures we have been
working on to alleviate some of the issues we have experienced against individuals and
items of concern. You will see, for example, the Section 41 notices being put in place along
Montague Street in the next few weeks, aimed at removing items accumulating in spaces, to
prevent encampments developing. For instance, some of you will have noticed the
‘encampment’ outside of Laura Ashley/Waterstones has now been cleared.
We are working on the issues of street drinking with a relatively small number of individuals
(up to 6 key individuals - a mixture of homeless and those accommodated) that have been
involved in ASB or drunk and disorderly behaviour. There is a small number of individuals
consuming, without causing any issues but who are very visible in prominent locations. The
Police continue to address these issues in line with the Council’s Public Space Protection
Order (PSPO) , i.e. remove opened alcohol, where there is associated anti-social behaviour.
The current PSPO is in place until August 2019 and the Council has committed to extending
this power and the other PSPOs until August 2022.
As partner organisations, we have recently met to discuss these issues and started to
explore different solutions. Some of the suggestions to be considered include:
- How we can support the development and use of DISC (Worthing Shopwatch) to
assist with gathering information and reports to support enforcement?
- How can we improve the reporting process for businesses that are concerned?
- Can we make interventions to those empty properties to minimise the wrong type of
These are just some of the initial suggestions. We will work together to develop immediate
and longer term interventions to improve the situation.
It is important to note that some of the issues that have led to concerns are not
homelessness issues and as outlined above, some of the behaviours are by those that are
not homeless. Worthing, like other towns, is working hard to address the issue of
homelessness with its partners, using assertive outreach to move people into support and
How you can continue to help...
Your support in helping us improve the town centre continues to be valued; it is only by
working together that we can improve things. We ask that you continue to share these key
messages to staff, customers and the wider public.
● This is a national concern and we are not the only town experiencing these
issues. However, the Council, Police, TCI, businesses and other partners are
working together to help improve the situation.
● Those sleeping rough are often very vulnerable, the majority need immediate help
and support. If you see someone sleeping rough please report through
● If appropriate, give food and drink to those people in need, not money.
● Reporting crime/anti-social behaviour, including alcohol related incidents, is
necessary - without this resources can not be directed effectively and action cannot
be taken. This can be done via 101 or online via
● If a crime is happening and/or if anyone is at risk please call 999.
We believe we’re all working towards the same goal of making Worthing a great town to visit,
stay and spend. We would welcome your continued help in doing this.
If you feel you would like more information or want to get in touch please feel free to contact
us on the details below.
Head of Wellbeing
Worthing Borough Council
Town Centre Initiative
Worthing Borough Council
Worthing Town Centre Initiative