Community Vision for sustainable leisure provision in Greater Littlehampton


Our Vision Is

Our Vision Is Not

§         Partnership and community empowered approaches to debate and deciding current and future leisure provision in our area.

§         Locally elected Councillors at the forefront with transparency and democratic accountability.

§         Consultant-driven/controversial approaches to decide current and future leisure provision in our area

§         Little or no local debate

§         Decisions taken by District Council alone which may override the views of both the public and locally elected Councillors at all levels (Parish, Town, District and County).

§         Cinema and theatre under one roof at the Windmill

-          developing synergy

-          offering value for public money

-          minimizing family costs

-          lifting the quality of life and well-being in our area.

§         Cinema and theatre in separate locations resulting in:

-          higher cost to area and district taxpayers

-          disproportionate impacts on poor families, the disabled, retired and elderly (50-60+ being the largest single demographic in our area).

§    Conserving, evolving and enhancing our unique South Coast seafront and community amenities.

§    Ensuring recreation, fitness, entertainment and culture provision now and for future generations to enjoy.

§    Ensuring and enhancing the sustainability of our business communities


§         Loss of our green space and community amenities to progressive encroachment of the remaining open seafront (i.e. a pincer-like movement of flats and a hotel at either end of the greensward), justified as a “leisure strategy”.  

§         A refurbished Leisure Centre on the seafront generating community value

-          responding to needs

-          offering growth by creatively expanding linkage to sea sport and integration with Norfolk Gardens

-          adding value to our tourism and visitor economy


§         Demolishing the Leisure Centre and relocating our most strategic leisure amenity away from the seafront, counter even to Local Strategic Policy. 

§         Mortgaging our future in multiple ways:

-          the future synergy in leisure provision

-          access to leisure facilities for families not only in Littlehampton but also in Rustington and nearby Parishes

-          forgoing potential boosts to tourism income.

§         Transfer of the Windmill asset to Littlehampton Town Council (or to a Community Trust) to guarantee its long-term future by using Community Asset Transfer Rights

-          generating social value for all ages

-          unlocking access to grants and commercial self-financing

-          reducing /eliminating need for public subsidy

-          ensuring sustainability

§         Resorting to local cinema in church halls for Littlehampton’s 60,000+ plus residents for occasional “Cinema Club” screening of old classic films or a mobile video show. 

§         Forcing people to travel to Bognor and Worthing for first run Cinema; thereby incurring multiple direct and indirect environmental and social costs not factored into spreadsheets (or Council thinking).

§         A thriving and self-financing community-private partnership for cinema:

-          delivering first run cinema locally for the residents of greater Littlehampton, alongside amateur theatre and digital stream events such as opera, sport, concerts

-          boosting the visitor economy. Something we feel proud of.

§         A hotel /cinema in St Martin’s car park requiring a high-rise car park to be built.  Resulting in parking rates that risk collapsing local trade in Littlehampton Town. All on top of seeing the demolition of key strategic assets of community value.

§         A protected integrated greensward and continuous seaside open air recreation and relaxation zone extending eastwards from the River all the way to the north-east corner of the Mewsbrook Park, ensuring, among other things:

-          Norfolk Gardens to be maintained and managed to maximise conservation value

-          Enhancing current uses for recreation opportunities for people, and families of all ages, resident and visiting. 

§         Outdoor exercise gyms and splash pools by the sea used three months of a year, displacing recreation and fitness options the families and local residents of all ages have all year round.

§         Trading-off recreation and fitness among different age groups (e.g., youth and retired ages); introducing conflict with local resident’s enjoyment of conservation and heritage values of local parks

§         Ignoring local knowledge, creative thinking and preferences.

§         Genuine community participation to plan, manage and monitor our amenities through empowered community liaison groups working in Partnerships (i.e. initially for the Windmill, Leisure Centre, Norfolk Gardens and Maltravers Park) reporting to the Community.

§         Old-style “after the fact” community engagement on changes to green spaces and recreational areas

§         Tick box public consultation exercises as part of non-transparent decisions by Council staff based on external consultant reports

§         Resulting conflicts well documented by local media.

§         “Fit for purpose” forms of community engagement in the Localism Era

§         Delivery of leisure provision with community empowered models (2011 Act in force from 2012).

§         1960s forms of community engagement which undermine localism (e.g. where a consultant delivers an “objective report” and electors and residents “have their say” on a limited or pre-determined agenda prepared by the external consultant)

§         District Council decides, after a “No Decisions have been made yet” responses.