Dear Community Groups,
Leisure, Sport and Culture in Littlehampton, Rustington and surrounding areas
As you may know, Arun District Council (ADC) is thinking about selling off the Littlehampton Windmill Entertainment Centre (with live theatre, cinema and studio facilities) and Swimming & Sport Centre located on the seafront for hotel and housing developments, as recommended by their planning consultants.
The Public consultation on these proposals contained in the District Leisure Strategy ends October 4th. We understand the final decision is to be taken by the Arun Cabinet and Council in late November.
Community groups are getting together now to hold a community-led meeting, or open Forum to discuss the proposals regarding the sale of our community assets, and let our Councillors know what we collectively think about the options they have to consider. All of us or our family members from Littlehampton, Rustington and surrounding areas may use the Windmill for cinema and live theatre. Local theatre, arts and culture groups absolutely depend on it. Many sport and leisure clubs rely on the Swimming and Sport facilities now so conveniently settled on Littlehampton’s seafront, with all-day, and year-round access for all ages, and plenty of room to expand in future when times are better. Also many feel the remaining areas of open seafront should be maintained for everyone’s enjoyment and for future generations – it should not be incrementally sold off for short term real or imagined financial gain, or the benefit of a few. As you can appreciate there are many arguments and views!
We copy two messages at the end of this email from the East Beach Residents Association (EBRA) that suggest some immediate steps. We expect to see an article in the Littlehampton Gazette tomorrow about the community-led Forum meeting set for next Tuesday. We also we expect to hear notices on local radio.
Kindly contact David Warne, Chairman of EBRA (firstname.lastname@example.org) with cc to Larry Haas (email@example.com) if you wish more information. And also please let us know if you would like to be kept up to date by email - on this issue only. We are contacting you now after visiting the Town Council website your individual websites.
Community Sponsored Forum Meeting
On our Littlehampton Windmill and Leisure Centre
As you know, the fate of Littlehampton’s Windmill Entertainment Centre and Swimming & Sport Centre is tied to decisions to be made by the Arun District Council (ADC) this autumn, concerning the District Leisure Strategy. Presently, the public consultations on the Leisure Strategy arranged by the Council run from 17 Sep to 5 Oct, and feature poster presentations at various venues manned by Council staff, and a survey. The East Beach Residents Association (EBRA) of Littlehampton feels these are necessary, but not sufficient forms of public consultation - given the significance of the decisions involved, the nature of the recommendations in the draft final Leisure Strategy Report and the potential impact on people of all ages in Littlehampton.
EBRA therefore invites other local community organisations, user groups of the Windmill and Leisure Centres, and interested and affected parties to consider coming together in an open forum, or community-led meeting to exchange views on the options for the future of our community facilities. We would also invite Council Members to listen to our discussions.
EBRA feels that open dialogue among community groups will lead to more informed decisions by Arun Council. It will also serve as community input to the formulation of Littlehampton’s Neighbourhood Plan, for which we understand the final round of consultations is expected to start sometime early October. The Neighbourhood Plan falls under the new Localism Act, which is to allow local communities much greater scope to shape decisions on development in their area and the protection of community assets.
Kindly contact David Warne, Chairman of EBRA (firstname.lastname@example.org) with cc to Larry Haas (email@example.com) as soon as possible to indicate if two or more representatives of your organisation would attend an open meeting, possibly make a 5 minute comment on options the ADC Study proposes for our Centres, and otherwise participate in the discussions. We may even jointly formulate a set of consensus recommendations for Arun Council to consider, based on the information contained in the Leisure Strategy Report.
The venue is now set for Tuesday 2nd October (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM) at the New Millennium Chamber, Town Council offices (Manor House). We anticipate lively and informative session. EBRA very much looks forward to hearing from you urgently, given the tight timeframe for public input set by the Council. Thank you.
East Beach Residents Association (EBRA)
This is a handout we are preparing for Theatre, Leisure and Sport Groups who may be interested
The fate of our Windmill Entertainment Centre and Swimming & Sport Centre
Public Meeting, Tuesday 2nd October (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM): People are encouraged to participate in this community-led meeting New Millennium Chamber, Town Council offices (Manor House). Community and user groups will discuss the Leisure Strategy recommendations. Town and District Councillors are invited to listen.
Open Council Meeting, 6:30 PM, Thursday 27th Sept: Town Council has its first ordinary meeting to consider the Leisure Strategy proposals to sell our community assets. We encourage EBRA Members and friends to:
§ To attend the poster display on the Leisure Strategy at the Town Council offices (Manor House) before the Council Meeting. That session runs from 4pm to 6pm and is manned by Arun Council officers. And after that:
§ To go together to the New Millennium Chamber (same location) to listen to the Town Council meeting starting at 6:30 – at least the first part dealing with the Windmill and Leisure Centre.
The Arun District Consultants report on the fate of our Swimming & Sport Centre and Windmill Entertainment Centre is now available on the Arun District Council (ADC) website. Please try and read at least the summary and if you can visit one of the Poster displays (like above on the 27th September). Please also complete the Council’s on-line survey, or obtain a survey form from the Civic Centre, Windmill or Leisure Centre on the seafront.
§ They still propose to sell the Leisure Centre for housing, and use the funds to build a new pool and sport centre away from the seafront at the Littlehampton Academy or north of it. However, the Report says the cost of new facilities is £14.5M, whereas selling the land will only raise between £6.2M and £9.8M, which means ADC needs to find grant funding of between £4.6M and £8.2M, if the project is to be completed. Why not improve our existing facilities instead of risking all the disruption and another Littlehampton Hospital scenario?
§ The recommendation is to close down the Windmill Centre, and sell the land for a hotel development with an area for some sort of children’s play facilities. No replacement for the Windmill is proposed. The Consultant suggests that residents use the Academy facilities, if they can, or otherwise go to Bognor.
§ EBRA Committee Members feel these valuable community assets are already conveniently located on the seafront for all Littlehampton, Rustington and are residents today and future generations to enjoy. Value for money suggests they should be improved, not sold off for short-term gain. They are an integral part of our river and seafront future.
Please write – to let decision-makers know your views
Letters should be received by 5th October at the latest and sent to:
PA to the Assistant Director of Environmental Services, Arun District Council, Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF
We also suggest that you copy your letter electronically to:-
Cllr Gillian Brown, Leader, ADC firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Gibb MP for Littlehampton email@example.com
Peter Herbert, Town Clerk firstname.lastname@example.org who will direct them to your Ward Councillors