A SENIOR councillor has been urged to ‘guarantee’ no housing would be built on the seafront following the redevelopment of the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre.
Paul Dendle, Arun District Council cabinet member for leisure and amenities, faced pressure from politicians and residents in the public gallery at a full council meeting last Wednesday.
Councillors voted in favour of building the new facility at the current location in Sea Road, instead of an alternative location in Cornfields Close.
But the positioning of the proposed new pool and sports centre has led to lingering concerns that development for housing could follow.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader and councillor for Beach ward, Dr James Walsh, said: “There is no reference in the (consultants’) report of any residential development on that site. It was never in the report to cabinet and I fully expect that to remain so.
“I really would press the cabinet member or leader to give that guarantee as it would put the matter to bed once and for all.”
Mr Dendle did not use the word ‘guarantee’ but said there were ‘no plans’ to develop the land, beyond returning it to parkland.
He said: “I think we have an opportunity to produce a building that is special and iconic and hope we can work together to that end.”
The decision to build the new centre on the current site was rubber-stamped by the cabinet on Monday, having been recommended by a working group last month.
The Sea Road site was supported by more than 6,500 residents, who signed a petition against the move.
Littlehampton Community Charter spokesman Terry Ellis, who led the campaign, told councillors: “Part of the petition was we want to hold genuine further consultations. This is something we still want to do passionately.
“The most important thing is we have an opportunity in Arun for the East Arun pool and leisure centre to be the jewel in the crown of Arun.”
Labour’s Mike Northeast repeated his previous concerns over the decision, having favoured moving the pool to the North Littlehampton development.
He said the public had not been properly consulted, having never been specifically asked if they would like the facility elsewhere.
Tory councillor George Blampied spoke out at the cabinet meeting, suggesting the Cornfields site was a better proposal than the Sea Road setting.