Sauna chance ‘slim’ as Arun approves £15m centre plans

An artist's impression of the new Littlehampton leisure centre
An artist's impression of the new Littlehampton leisure centre

A major milestone in the delivery of Littlehampton’s new £15million leisure centre has been reached after councillors granted planning permission for the project.

Arun District Council’s development control committee unanimously approved plans, which will replace the current facility in Sea Road.

Paul Dendle, cabinet member for leisure and amenities, said: “I am very pleased with the outcome. The officers have done a fantastic job in quite a tight deadline.

“The one thing I always wanted was to have a seamless transition between the old site and the new site opening.

“The lessons of Littlehampton hospital were very much evident and I wanted to avoid the situation where we demolished one building without replacing it.”

The new centre will include an expanded eight-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, learner pool, gym, dance and cycling studios, a sports hall and café.

But the inclusion of a sauna, called for by scores of residents who use the current equipment, hangs in the balance.

The sauna was included as a provisional item in the tender for the centre’s construction – but is dependent on resources and the final cost of the build.

Mr Dendle said a final decision would be made within six months, once the procurement process was finalised.

He remained unconvinced that a sauna should be provided, suggesting Arun could negotiate special rates with providers of facilities elsewhere in the district.

He added: “That’s not to say we wouldn’t be able to provide it - but the chances are slim.”

Construction is expected to begin in summer, with Willmott Dixon selected as contractor. It should be open by 2019.

Planning permission, granted last Wednesday, followed a long campaign by residents to keep the pool in Sea Road.