Development of the seafront at Worthing is set to take another leap forward after a leading French restaurant group was given the go ahead to convert the shelter opposite West Buildings.

Bistrot Pierre is the successful bidder for a long term lease for the shelter and wants to convert and expand it into a state-of-the-art restaurant overlooking the beach.

Developer Nextcolour Ltd will build the restaurant for Bistrot Pierre. Nextcolour Ltd has just finished developing a locally well received waterfront destination on the Mumbles in Swansea Bay which is also home to Bistrot Pierre among others.

Full plans for Worthing are not yet ready and the scheme will be out to public consultation ahead of it going for planning permission.

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins said he was delighted the process to put both the shelter at West Buildings and a second at Steyne Gardens on the other side of the pier out to tender had resulted in high quality applications.

“This was a strong field of applicants and I am delighted Bistrot Pierre has won through with a first class submission. There’s more to be done but I look forward to seeing their plans for the site and am sure they will bring forward a high-quality design given what they have produced elsewhere in the country.

“As a council we are determined to drive through significant improvements to our seafront offer. We will not sit still but want to modernise our offer while not forgetting its traditional delights.”

“I expect this development and that at the Steyne Gardens shelter to be game changers.”

The restaurant group, which as well as the Mumbles has outlets in Birmingham, Nottingham and Bath among others was founded by school friends Rob Beacham and John Whitehead.

Mr Beacham said:

“We’ve had our sights set on Worthing for some time now so we’re delighted to have been selected by Worthing Borough Council to open a bistrot in such a great location directly on the sea front.”

“Worthing has a thriving food and drink scene and we look forward to opening in the town and supporting the local restaurant market; there’s nothing quite like our offering in the area so we believe that Worthing is the ideal location for us. The site itself is also fantastic, with it being in close proximity to the coast, it couldn’t be better for tourists enjoying walks along the Parade or for those wanting to dine with friends or family looking to enjoy lunch or an evening meal by the beach.”

“We’re delighted to be bringing our authentic French flavours to the south coast.”

He added that Bistrot Pierre would be creating a very special dining experience and wanted to open, subject to planning permission, by summer 2019.

“We take regular trips to France to inspire our seasonally-updated menus with authentic ingredients carefully prepared by our talented chefs. Each bistrot is slightly different and the group prides itself on creating a unique dining experience for customers at every location.”

“We’re pleased to be working with the team behind Swansea’s popular Oyster Wharf development at Mumbles where we opened a bistrot this spring.”

James Morse, commercial director at Nextcolour Developments, the company behind the Oyster Wharf development, said:

“After the success of Oyster Wharf we’re excited to be working with Bistrot Pierre on this stunning new restaurant on Worthing’s sea front.”

The announcement of the winning bid for the Steyne Gardens shelter is expected soon with the council hoping both will add significantly to the town’s foodie reputation and increase the seafront and town centre’s appeal as a tourist destination.