Littlehampton’s new leisure centre will be welcomed and well-used

The man at the gate said, “You can’t go in there, mate, you’re improperly dressed.”

Oh dear, I thought, my visit to Littlehampton’s new leisure centre was over before it had begun, no one had mentioned to me that there was a dress code.

Nearly ready for a spring opening...

Nearly ready for a spring opening...

However, help was on hand and project manager Martin Solomon appeared, greeted me warmly and kitted me out with a hi-vis jacket, a white helmet and blue over-shoes, the sort worn by forensic cops in Midsomer Murders.

The inside of the new centre is as impressive as the outside and the view of the sea will be stunning from any level.

In fact, the whole joint was impressive from the filled swimming pool to the sports hall with its superb sprung floor.

Changing rooms, lockers, showers and fittings are to country club standards and beautifully finished and almost ready for the spring opening.

|Also in the news - a gang of armed teenagers left a man ‘running for his life’ after chasing him through Angmering Railway Station; a Littlehampton banker was one of 57 drink-drivers convicted as part of a crackdown over the Christmas period; and two GP surgeries in Littlehampton and Rustington will be merging to form a 22,000-patient medical group|

The tiny sauna was cosy to say the least and the showers and changing rooms are private, a far cry from the existing ‘see what everyone’s got’ currently in use.

I was particularly interested in the cycling room which will serve riders with a large picture wall and screen featuring a road running before their front wheels. I only hope that film will be realistic and incorporate a couple of rude, thoughtless drivers of which sadly there are many.

Martin and his team have brought the job in on time and within budget, not an easy task. Perhaps he should offer his services to British Rail.

A superb enterprise and one which will be welcomed and well-used by those who enjoy such activities.

It’s not for me though – I can’t swim, you would never catch me in tracksuit bottoms, trainers or, heaven forbid, a pair of shorts, but I do not begrudge those who find such pursuits as squash and swimming both healthy and enjoyable.

I thanked Martin for his courtesy, handed back my jacket and overshoes and, with great reluctance, the hard hat which suited me and would have looked well in my hat collection, then went out into a cold winter’s night.

I cannot help but wonder about the millions of pounds, nationwide, we spend on such worthwhile projects and yet so little and seemingly so reluctantly, on equally worthwhile projects such as care for the elderly and support for the homeless, rough sleepers.

FROM Arun District Council delights to impending disasters. How could they and the planners even contemplate the demolition of the Waitrose building to accommodate 83 minimum-space dwellings and likely attendant vehicles in our town centre, only yards away from the High Street?

Are their imaginations so limited they cannot come up with a project that will actually serve the local community? If not, then perhaps they should consult we, the people.

Consultation means little to them and they easily forget we employ them either as officers through our rates or through the ballot box by our vote. Why? Very likely because a good number of them come from elsewhere in the district and have little interest or knowledge of our fair town.

HOW times change? Way back in the ‘40s my dad got himself a criminal record when the Arundel Magistrates Court fined him twenty shillings for riding his bike along the Ford Road without a headlamp.

Nowadays hardly a single evening cyclist gives warning of their presence with any form of illumination, not even a hi-vis jacket. Shame on them.

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

---

Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Littlehampton Gazette by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Littlehampton Gazette simply click here.