Q&A with Cllr Martin McCabe, cabinet member for regeneration at Worthing Borough Council
Released: Monday, 06 June 2022
Cllr Martin McCabe is the new cabinet member for regeneration at Worthing Borough Council and has got straight to work outlining the new administration's approach.
Today he talks about embracing change, Teville Gate - and protecting our green assets for future generations.
Q. You have now been in the cabinet for two weeks. What are your first impressions of the role? Has anything surprised you?
The passion and energy of the whole Council team is incredible. I love their enthusiasm, their pride in our town and their readiness to embrace the change. It's certainly surprised me but it's great to see people already moving from a culture of playing it safe to being unafraid and ready to innovate.
Q. What have been the first things you have done so far?
I've started by outlining our new approach - to engage with residents and to listen. First up will be Montague Place and those squiggly lines - which personally, I'd like to see gone.
I've also been reviewing Council contracts inherited from my predecessors so we can get our borrowing back under control. We need to build a sustainable recovery by rebalancing our Council's finances away from debt and towards long term investment in our community. Plus we've started putting together a multimillion-pound bid for government funding to make our public spaces greener.
Q. When you hear “regeneration” what do you think of?
To be honest, Doctor Who! It makes me think how arcane some of our language sounds. We have to change that - we have to communicate better with people in the real world. When I'm out in town or on the school run, I don't say I'm the cabinet member for regeneration. I say I'm the guy who has to finally sort out Teville Gate and the rest.
Q. What attracted you to the regeneration portfolio?
In every leadership role I've had, I've always been excited by the chance to make real, tangible change. Working with the Army changed my life and engrained a culture of teamwork and always striving to be the best we can be.
I was born and raised here. It's a special place and I want to help make it even better. So It's the greatest honour I can imagine, to be given this opportunity to help our town move forwards.
Q. Have you got a list of things you personally want to achieve as cabinet member for regeneration?
It's not about me, it's the team that comes first. We're clear on what we want to achieve - to make our town greener and cleaner and to open up this council to the public by making it more transparent and accessible. We'll tackle the Council debt we've inherited. And we'll listen, listen, listen.
Q. Are there parts of the borough that you want to focus your attention on?
In terms of geography, the most urgent area is from Teville Gate down to the seafront. Our town centre and seafront are vital to our economy and the message we send out about Worthing. Alongside that, we've got to protect the Ferring/Goring Gap for future generations.
Q. Are there examples of regeneration in other areas that you want Worthing to imitate or emulate?
Waverley Council is a fantastic example on housing. We've visited and met with both the Council and the developer. We learned a lot and will be taking that forward into our own plans.
Preston Council also gives us a good template for working with our community partners and improving our environment. Like them, we can deliver a vision for Worthing where active travel, green spaces and truly affordable housing replace cars, empty shops and concrete.
Q. Let's jump forward in time. You've been in post for 12 months - what have you managed to get done so far?
Held a great Big Clean-Up for our town centre and wider communities. Begun our programme for building council housing and finally ended the years of uncertainty on key sites like Teville Gate and Union Place. And I hope, seen the back of those squiggly lines at Montague Place!
Cllr Martin McCabe
Page last updated: 23 June 2022