Arun District Council Draft Leisure Strategy

Arun District Council’s Draft Leisure Strategy.

Arun District Council have now published their Draft Leisure Strategy, 17th September 2012.

The Council commissioned consultants  Colliers International to work up this Strategy, which is now open for the public to comment. A number of dates and venues are advertised on Arun District Council’s website where the public are invited to come along and meet with officers to discuss these proposals.

The document itself is quite lengthy covering all areas of Arun including Bognor Regis and Arundel  and goes into some detail.

It’s well worth a read, although I’d recommend printing a copy off as reading it online isn’t the easiest as you need to cross-reference backwards and forwards.

Some of the key areas for Pier Road, Littlehampton and the seafront local to us here include:

Cycling

One of the proposals is to improve cycling facilities. I’m all for improving cycling, after all our primary area of business is, cycling and to this extent I welcome the proposals to improve cycling infrastructure locally.

While I welcome these proposals and hope they will actually become a reality, I have got to say it’s a shame that it’s only now that Arun District Council is waking up to the fact that cycling is not only good for the residents’ health and well-being, but the economy also.

However, other proposals, I’m not too sure about.

Littlehampton’s Windmill Theatre.

The first one concerns the Windmill Theatre, which Arun want to close as Colliers Consultants claim: ‘it’s not fit for purpose and the cost to the rate payer exceeds the value it brings.”

As an alternative, they’re proposing  – “a hotel on the site would provide a good attraction and release some value for investment and improvements in the town.”

I have always said Littlehampton needs a hotel. The town’s last hotel, the Beach Hotel, which was located just along the seafront from the Windmill site was closed and sold off to developers where it was turned into luxury, consequently, unaffordable housing.

Elsewhere in Collier’s Report,  they state that cinemas, particularly seafront ones, are good for attracting people.

“The research shows that going to the cinema
is popular and is growing in popularity.
People of all ages like to go to the movies.
Cinemas are, because of this popularity,
often built as “anchors” for developments
that have restaurants. The surveys show
that people in Arun would like better cinema
and that young people, in particular, would
like a multi-screen cinema.
• A cinema plus restaurants overlooking the
sea, would be an attractive destination that
people would come from a distance to.”                 Source, Page 20, 2c, Draft Leisure Strategy.”

———-
So they’re proposing to get rid of Littlehampton and its surrounding areas only cinema and replace it with a hotel?

Surely it would make more sense to build a hotel incorporating either the old or a renovated Windmill Theatre and Cinema, thus improving on an additional much loved and needed local facility while creating a new and much needed attraction.

Littlehampton Swimming Pool

Littlehampton’s Swimming Pool is a much used local resource with a busy, vibrant, award-winning swimming team, health and fitness centre, which all sits nicely overlooking Littlehampton Seafront.

Collier’s see this essentially as a waste of prime residential land and while the offer a number of proposals to relocate this facility – eg, in Littlehampton Town Centre or in the nearby Littlehampton Academy, their bottom line view as per their report is:

“The Site of the Littlehampton Swimming Pool and Sports complex is attractive for development because it overlooks both the seafront and promenade gardens…”

Who could disagree with this statement?

But replace the word ‘development‘ in the above statement with ‘swimming pool and leisure complex‘ and you get equally compelling reasons why this site is suitable for a Swimming Pool and Fitness Complex.

Understandably, locally there is much opposition to these two proposals.

I hope we’re not going to see history repeating itself and much loved, much needed local and visitor attractions sold off to developers to create profitable gated residential developments benefiting only a small few.

The reports can been read and downloaded at Arun District Council’s Website here.

Please share your thoughts