Face lift to Littlehampton arcade would not stop pressure on businesses

An all too familiar town centre sight
An all too familiar town centre sight

Two more Littlehampton businesses gave up the ghost last week and I hear whispers that there are a couple more about to join the growing list of shut-downs.

The ink cartridge shop and the exchange shop which, among other things, dealt with some very nice second-hand electronics and musical instruments, both were in Surrey Street.

The unattractive entrance to our arcade...remember how colourful it was as Gamleys?

The unattractive entrance to our arcade...remember how colourful it was as Gamleys?

I welcome the probability of the £2.5million pounds from the Coastal Communities Fund to transform the town centre but, into what? Posh pavements and roadways are not some yellow brick road leading to the fabled land of Oz.

So many shops are closing one wonders what really is needed to attract some new and diverse businesses to our High Street, Surrey Street and Beach Road. The lovely promenade attracts scores of admiring pedestrians but, apart from the super wet fish stall, Pier Road could do with livening up.

Once past cafés and the currently closed Look and Sea Centre, the town centre is pretty much bereft of any real attraction. Currently the pedestrian precinct is often a practice ground for trick cyclists, a meeting place for boozers and sheltering doorways for homeless sleepers.

I really don’t want to appear negative about this but I cannot see how any of the pretty architectural drawings with their instant trees and new street furniture, will result in the actual investment into new and attractive business ventures when those currently in situ are having such a struggle to survive. The problem is deeper that.

Even a complete and well-deserved and much-needed face lift to our special arcade would not really alleviate the pressure on the current businesses therein.

Both the town council and Arun District Council must see to it that this windfall is not simply wasted on the prettying up of the town centre; as the old saying goes, ‘you can put lipstick on a pig but...’. If you believe the current politicians are not up to the task then, remember, election time is just around the corner.

On a more positive note, I met a happy retired couple dining in the Fish Factory at the weekend, they had recently moved down from East Grinstead to Rustington.

They told me that they loved it there, the people are friendly, the area pleasant, the sea delightful and, in their words, they felt they had died and gone to heaven. So why Rustington and not Littlehampton?

THE rising incidents of anti-social behaviour and nighttime vandalism in Littlehampton are a worrying trend for anyone who walks our mean streets on their lonesome in the late evening.

No good saying that millions of pounds have miraculously become available to the police when those millions were taken from the service in the first place. It will take more than a few quid and empty reassurances to make up the shortfall.

Blame the present troubles on the muddled thinking that, in a high-tech modern world, a couple of new desktop PCs could make up for losing some very real street-walking PCs!

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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