Sale of Littlehampton ambulance station ‘a lost opportunity’

The decision to sell Littlehampton’s ambulance station has been branded ‘crazy’ and ‘a lost opportunity’ by one councillor.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:29 pm
Littlehampton Ambulance Station

But the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said it simply had no use for the site, though it would ‘continue to be involved in discussions’ about blue light services in the town.

The ambulance station, off East Street, is listed as ‘under offer’ by property consultants Flude, with a listing asking for offers in excess of £300,000.

Dr James Walsh, leader of the Liberal Democrats at Arun District Council, has long been an advocate of a ‘blue light hub’ on the East Street site, bringing together ambulance, police and fire services.

The idea had been part of the county council’s One Public Estate project, before being dropped as unviable.

Dr Walsh said: “Littlehampton infrastructure badly needs a new fire station, a functioning  24-hour police station, and an ambulance station, all for a large and increasing East Arun population.

“It makes total economic and logistical sense to combine them on the existing spacious East Street site, under the One Public Estate programme, with great connections via the new roads.

“This crazy decision by SECAmb blows it out of the water, and will probably mean more housing and a great lost opportunity.

“The county and Arun councils need to knock a few heads together and get this scheme rolling again, or it will mean more lost facilities like Littlehampton Hospital.”

A spokesman for SECAmb explained that the Make Ready Centre at Tangmere – where staff start and finish their shifts and vehicles are cleaned, restocked and maintained – along with a series of Community Response Posts, meant the East Street site was no longer needed.

He added: “The building no longer meets our operational requirements but we are exploring options for a short-lease replacement and will continue to be involved in discussions with our emergency service partners regarding any blue light collaboration in the town.

“This move frees up part of our old estate for reinvestment in our services.”

While a spokesman for Arun District Council said the council had not been made aware of the decision to sell the ambulance station, the county council had been kept in the loop.

A spokesman said both the county and police were looking at alternative options to improve the current site, which includes the county buildings, National Probation Service and Littlehampton Police Station.