Look and Sea Centre closure a huge loss to Littlehampton

The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton
The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton

Unbelievable but true, not fake news, the Harbour Lights Café and restaurant complex, perhaps better known to we locals as the Look and Sea Centre has, out of the blue, actually closed its doors.

Of all of such business in Littlehampton I would have put money on that one surviving.

The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton shut last week Picture: Chris Adam Smith

The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton shut last week Picture: Chris Adam Smith

It had everything, from friendly staff – now all unemployed – to acceptable coffee and reasonably priced grub.

Seemingly always busy summer and winter with a footfall catchment second to none, a popular stop over for locals and visitors alike, it even had Molly a friendly comedy cat – now sadly passed away – who came in one door, was put outside by the staff and came back in through another door with the next customer.

| Also in the news – the chairman of the now-closed Look & Sea Centre has offered a ray of hope for its future; Littlehampton firefighters welcomed people of all ages to watch them in action and learn more about their roles at the fire station open day; figures have revealed West Sussex has an extremely high rate of superfast broadband coverage; and find out what’s on and when at this weekend’s Goodwood Revival. |

Also, in a town bereft of such facilities the loos were always fresh and clean.

A viewing tower, a meeting and display room for local talent, a gift shop, an information bureau and the occasional excitement with the adjacent RNLI station responding to a distant mariner’s cry for help.

How could it possibly fail with so many things going for it?

A location pretty well perfect for a seaside town, even in the bleak midwinter, with the moody, ever-changing view of our lovely river rolling along and out to the open sea beyond, seen from the warmth and comfort of the large glassed dining area, it was a refreshing delight.

This sadness has to end, several major businesses have quit the town, and the whisper is that there will be more to follow.

We will be left with a town centre composing mainly of real estate agents, charity shops, cut-price shops, several cafes and three chemists – not a very inspiring place for future commercial investment other than for yet more housing development.

So, does the council actually care about what our town will become?

I see a main street deserted, given over to the crow and the fox and the windblown, tumbling tumbleweed roaming the dusty street like a ghost town in some old western movie.

Too strong? Maybe, but the signs are all there, at least those local directional highway signs you can actually see through the briar and the bramble and the green, green algae.

A few song references in this piece so let us end with another, this one paraphrasing Judith Durham of The Seekers: ‘The harbour lights are fading, will this be our last farewell…?’

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THE new Littlehampton to Bognor cycle path, in spite of all the naysayers, appears to be a great success. I drive past it most days and it is being well used and, chatting to the cyclists who gather for morning refreshments at Edgcumbs Coffee Shop, it mostly meets with their approval. A few wrinkles need sorting but I am sure they will be dealt with in due course. Well done all!

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

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