Littlehampton new swimming pool and leisure centre given the go ahead.

Great news for Littlehampton residents and visitors to our beautiful seaside town. Councillors at Arun District Council have unanimously agreed Arun District Council’s (ADC) to build a new Leisure centre including a  new 25 meter swimming pool.

Littlehampton’s new leisure centre will be located at the existing Sea Road site with the new building being built on the site of the existing Sport’s Dome, thereby allowing the existing swimming pool, gym and cafe to continue to operate during the building works.

Facilities at Littlehampton’s new Leisure Centre will include:

  • 25 metre pool
  • Learner pool with a moveable floor
  • Gym – circa 450 m2 giving up to 85 stations
  • Spinning Studio
  • Cafe
  • Multipurpose meeting room
  • Dome will be replaced with a 4 court sports hall
  • 2 flexible studios that will be able to accommodate many of the activities that take place in the existing sports dome.
  • new facility will be DDA Compliant.

New facility will not include a 50 metre swimming pool.

Some will be disappointed that the new facility does not include a 50metre swimming pool, however Arun advise that this wouldn’t be possible as the costs of constructing one would increase the project costs by an estimated £3m and the subsequent running costs would be considerably higher.

Dome users will have no facilities while works are underway

Unfortunately current users of the Dome will see this facility taken away as the new building is being built on this part of the site. Arun advise that Freedom Leisure are currently working on ways of providing alternative facilities.

Littlehampton Residents Concerns.

Some residents had worried that the new facility would be located in North Littlehampton, however Arun District Council have now decided that new facilities will be located in the existing site, which is great news for Littlehampton’s seafront.

Tree felling.

Others have worried that the new facility will require trees to be felled in Littlehampton’s Mewsbrook Park and Ruby Gardens. Although some trees will have to be felled to allow building works, Arun advise that will take place outside of the nesting season and will be kept to a minimum. They also promise to replant trees to replace those felled.

Impact on the Aqua Youth Centre

Apart from what Arun describe as some small alterations to the layout of the Aqua Youth Centre, Arun advise that this much-loved and tremendous local sailing facility will continue to operate as normal.

Building works begin in Spring 2017

Building of the new facilities is expected to begin as early as Spring 2017 and completion by April 2019.

Arun District Council are giving assurances that works will not disrupt existing leisure facility users and current car parking arrangements and access will be  maintained.

The new facility is expected to cost £15million and Arun are a little unclear as to how this will be funded. They state that funding will come from:

  1. Capital receipts
  2. Borrowing (which Arun describe as ‘prudent borrowing’.
  3. Grant from Sport England

Arun have yet to have grant funding from Sport England approved,  and it’s unclear if they’ve actually yet applied for a grant, yet this is still classified as a funding source. Somewhat worrying, as what happens if Sport England reject their grant application?

Who pays then, and more importantly, how much?

Although this is very much welcome news for Littlehampton and Arun residents, we should all keep a close eye on the project’s progress to ensure that what’s promised is actually delivered.

Once the new facility has been built, Arun advise that the old facility will be demolished and the area turned into a public space.


As always thanks for reading, your comments welcome.

 

 

Littlehampton Harbour Views

Swimming in Littlehampton Harbour

Fish Littlehampton Harbour

Littlehampton Harbour visitor Moorings

Littlehampton harbour 4Littlehampton Harbour 5Littlehampton Harbour 6Coastal Cycles LittlehamptonLittlehampton HarbourLittlehampton harbour 8Look and SeaLitttehampton Harbour 3Benny Sailing

Leisure Strategy Meeting Arun District Council.

Now that the irritating business of the local elections are over, Arun District Council’s ruling Tory Party can get on with deciding the future of Littlehampton’s swimming pool and Windmill Theatre.

The previous meeting was dramatically postponed only hours before it was due to start when Arun District Council’s Chief Executive Nigel Lynn, announcing that a substance, which may have contained asbestos had been discovered while work was being undertaken in the council’s chambers.

Many locally, suspected the council were using the asbestos gag as a way of postponing what are some very difficult decisions, until once the local County Council elections had taken place.

The local view being that Arun District Council wouldn’t want to make unpopular decisions that may loose them votes. In any event, Asbestos wasn’t found, which hardly came as a surprise as by Law Arun District Council were obliged some years ago to undertake an Asbestos Survey of their building. One could safely assume that this survey would have been thorough and that if any hint of Asbestos was present, it would have been discovered back then.

In any event, Arun District Councillor, Paul Dendle, the councillor in charge of leisure and tourism and whose brief includes the Swimming pool and  leisure facilitates, took to the Littlehampton Gazette, to assure the local population that postponing the said meeting, wasn’t a conspiracy (his words, not mine) and that it was a sensible precaution to save guard all our well beings.

Councillor Dendle subsequently secured the lowest of all the Candidates when he stood for West Sussex County Council in the recent County Elections. Polling only 462 votes and coming behind the Labour Party (512 votes), Liberal Democrats (526 votes), with Ann Margaret of UKIP being elected with 1044 votes.

Tonight’s  meeting,   which is widely expected to be over-subscribed by irate local voters angry at seeing much loved local leisure facilities threatened with either closure or relocation, will be broadcast live by Arun District Council.

Arun District Council must be congratulated for this initiate to broadcast live the Council meetings, and I hope in the future, they may include many more full council meetings.

You can view the proceedings live here.

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.