Littlehampton needs more accommodation to attract visitors and increase spending in town

More accommodation is sorely needed in and around Littlehampton to attract overnight visitors and increase spending in the town.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:28 am

Previous work has identified regeneration options to help transform the seafront area and promenade.

At an Arun District Council Littlehampton regeneration sub-committee meeting on Thursday (March 11), members agreed which projects they would like to see prioritised.

These were a new green and beach link, redevelopment of the Harbour Park/Windmill sites and improvements to the promenade.

DM1930452a.jpg. Scenic. Littlehampton harbour. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190503-183955008

Members spoke about the need to engage with the Harbour Park businesses and reiterated support for retaining the cinema in any future plans.

Officers explained how they could bid money from the government’s £4billion Levelling Up Fund.

James Walsh, leader of the council, explained how they had plenty of ideas worthy projects for improving the seafront over the years, but a lack of funds had held these back.

He felt they needed to make a ‘really big pitch’ for government funding by working up several ‘visually exciting projects’.

Artist's impression of possible improvements to Littlehampton promenade

Emily Seex (Ind, River), chairman of the committee, mentioned the recent Blue Sail strategic review of tourism in Arun and in particular the pressing need for more accommodation.

She said: “We can stick as many bells and whistles on the seafront as we want and spend millions but if people are not staying they are not spending.”

This was seconded by Dr Walsh who suggested day visitors largely brought food and drink with them, with the only major spend being on car parking.

He pointed out how overnight accommodation would be better in the town itself, with week-long staycations better placed outside of town.

Karl Roberts, director of place, described how they would be putting together a planning policy document on the future accommodation and tourism needs across Arun.

Meanwhile chief executive Nigel Lynn explained how he was involved with a Sussex-wide initiative on tourism, with some funds available from the local enterprise partnership around website development for the tourism industry and product development.

A draft bid document for the seafront regeneration proposals could be available for the new economic committee for sign-off in June.