Littlehampton clock tower redesign dealt a blow by councillors

Calls have been made to preserve a much-loved landmark in the heart of Littlehampton.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 11:47 am

The clock tower has been a familiar feature in the town centre for two decades.

But plans had been suggested to change it as part of a regeneration scheme.

Last Tuesday, Littlehampton Town Council’s Policy and Finance Committee voted that it should be kept as it was.

Mike Northeast by the clock tower

Councillor Mike Northeast persuaded the committee to back his views on the basis of its heritage. He said: “I’m really pleased because it is something which should be preserved.”

Last year, Littlehampton successfully won a multi-million pound bid to revitalise the town centre from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

As a result, Arun District Council drew up plans for improvements, including transforming the clock tower into a metal structure raised off the ground that could be lit at night, which Mike branded a ‘climbing frame for drunks’.

During the meeting, Mike explained to fellow councillors the history behind the clock, which was installed in part to commemorate the millennium.

The proposed redesign of the clock tower in Littlehampton town centre

According to Mike, the clock came from a church in Portsmouth that was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. It was allegedly gifted to the town and brought back by fisherman Eric Ward.

The parts then laid collecting dust in the cellars of Littlehampton Town Council’s offices in Manor House, Church Street, for almost 50 years before Mike became involved.

In 2000, during his year as town mayor, Mike led a campaign to install the clock in the town centre as part of the High Street works going on at the time. He raised around £30,000 for it to be built, and it was constructed by Mike’s neighbour John Coles, who is now in his nineties.

The design was intended to reflect Littlehampton’s ‘pepper pot’ lighthouses.

“Now it has become very much an icon in the town,” Mike said. “Everybody says ‘let’s meet at the clock tower’.

“It is part of our heritage and we shouldn’t be ashamed to show it off.”

The committee’s recommendation will go to full council, before a final decision is made by Arun.