A new vision for major redevelopment of Littlehampton could prevent homes and businesses being ‘condemned to a watery grave’, a businessman believes.
Consultants have revisited long-discussed plans for the west bank, which could include hundreds of homes, crucial flood defences and new commercial space at the marina and the shipyard.
Plans to regenerate the west bank are part of Arun District Council’s local plan but a Government inspector last year ruled more evidence was required to demonstrate the idea was viable.
The latest vision, prepared by architects BACA and consultants GL Hearn, has received the backing of Robert Boyce, of Osborne of Arun.
He believes the delivery of homes will secure flood defences and provide a golden chance of regeneration.
He said: “It is time we got our tools out and polished our fabulous jewel at the heart of Littlehampton.
“What I don’t want to see is the anti-housing lobby hijacking an absolutely crucial waterfront development because in doing so they will condemn those businesses and homes who have spent the past 100 years on the west bank to a watery grave.”
The latest ideas are not set in stone, primarily providing evidence to demonstrate whether the proposal is deliverable. Public consultation will take place.
Key to the scheme is the delivery of new homes – with sites on the west bank and wider town centre earmarked for between 800 and 1,200 dwellings – around 1,000 of which would be on the west bank.
The study claims that level of housing would help secure £30million of flood defences, £70million of infrastructure and land for a new primary school, among other benefits.
But Mr Boyce said the plans were about more than homes, with an ‘incredible opportunity’ for commercial redevelopment, which he hopes could include ‘fantastic restaurants, top-flight hotels and fabulous open space woven through it’.
The study sets out a vision for various sites, stating the town could ‘embrace innovative architecture’ along the lines of Malmo and Hafen City, in Hamburg.
The marina could see a ‘comprehensive redevelopment’, retaining existing facilities and adding commercial buildings, ground floor restaurants and parking.
Rope Walk and the shipyard could become a ‘mixed-use attractive asset’, with 50 to 120 homes and 32,000 square foot of commercial space.
The report states: “Renovation and conversion of existing buildings could be combined with new development to support a mix of uses including restaurant, retail and small workshops.”
Plans would also incorporate existing proposals for a new 100-mooring marina at the timber docks and up to 70 moorings on the east bank, adjacent to the A259 roundabout.
To the east, shortlisted sites for housing include the Locomotive pub, fire station, St Martin’s car park and former Waitrose site.
Town clerk Peter Herbert said Littlehampton Town Council had offered constructive criticism on the draft study and called for full consultation. Liberal Democrat councillor Dr James Walsh said Arun must work with all parties to ensure town centre regeneration which worked for all.
He said: “It is essential that Arun works with the Town Council, local businesses and residents to deliver town centre regeneration that works for everyone already here, and not just a developers’ charter for more and more housing.”
To read the full report, click here and download the LEGA Development Delivery Study.