A businessman has declared his intention to return the wow factor to an iconic seafront building.

Phillip Duckett says he wants to put “smiles on faces” with his 1930s Art Deco refurbishment of the Southern Pavilion on Worthing Pier.

Worthing Borough Council has announced the local businessman is the authority’s preferred bidder to transform the building from a nightclub into a “multi-purpose venue”.

The interior refurbishment is expected to take between three and four months and would cost up to £130,000 while the borough council are also stumping up £90,000 for improvements to the exterior of the Grade II listed building.

As well as a café, the venue will host weddings and will be available to hire for a wide variety of events including parties, conferences, themed nights, charity events and community projects.

Mr Duckett is currently applying for planning permission, listed building consent, premises license and building regulations approval for his plans and it is hoped that should these be granted the building would be up and running by spring next year.

He said: “My vision is to make this fantastic building available to the public once more, through a variety of events, attracting visitors both locally and from further afield. The aim is to restore the Southern Pavilion back to its former glory and reinstate a legacy for the town to enjoy for future generations.”

Disco wall

Councillor Paul Yallop, leader of Worthing Borough Council, added: “This proposal fits in really well with our strategic plans and vision to regenerate Worthing over the next 20 years.

“The venue occupies one of the best sites along the South Coast and we are doing everything we can to ensure this proposal is the best for our town.”

Changes to the building will see new flooring and chandeliers brought while a LED studded disco wall from the venue’s previous incarnation as a nightclub called The Pier.

Plans to reopen the venue as another club under the name of Angelik were rejected by Sussex Police in 2011 and the venue has been empty ever since.

Worthing Mayor Councillor Bob Smytherman said: “I think it’s quite exciting news, it’s very encouraging and it’s really great for the town.

“I think it will be put to good use after being a bit of a problem premises in the past as a nightclub and an empty café.”