If anyone can make the 6:00 PM Question Period at the full Arun District Council Meeting at the Council Chamber of the Civic Centre this Wednesday, and plan to ask a question, please email your question to Council tomorrow. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Please cc email@example.com to ensure the Community Working Group coordinated by the Town Clerk gets a copy. Unfortunately on this matter - silence is not golden. Please note the meeting is a 6:00 not the normal 6:30 for some reason. The Town Clerk also says the Working Group has its formation meeting tomorrow (Tuesday evening). EBRA will hand over all coordination tasks to them.
If some of you feel it helpful to coordinate questions, or prompt ideas, a few thoughts are noted below.
Only 3 as a sample - if anyone wants to claim these as is, or adopt and alter please do so! There are many questions we could ask.
Q1 – Question about the fate of the Windmill in the Leisure Strategy for Littlehampton and Area:
Statement: Closing the Windmill will increase transport and personal costs for everyone. We will all have to go to Bognor and further a field – or go without. People of all ages will have to travel evenings for cinema, theatre and culture. Amateur groups including children will have to travel outside the community for practice time, be on stage and present live theatre. We have heard from our amateur groups how facilities at the Local Academy are not at all adequate and conflict over access time. When one factors in all the direct and indirect costs, does it still make sense to close the Windmill?
Question: Will District Council taken note of the many direct and hidden costs that closing the Windmill will impose on the community of Littlehampton and area when it decides the fate of the Windmill? Will Council provide additional travel assistance such as for for handicapped and the elderly who will loose their access to culture and entertainment due to these cost plus many any special burdens that kind of travel will place on them?
Q2 – Question about the fate of the Swimming, Sport and Aqua Centre on the Leisure Strategy for Littlehampton and Area:
Statement: Splitting off the Sport and Aqua Centre from the Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool will reduce fitness and recreation provision in our area. Any facilities that are relocated to the Academy site will suffer from reduced day time access for all area residents. We heard clearly in the Public Meeting that many sport and leisure activities now run from the Sport Dome and Aqua Centre will either dramatically reduce or simply have to shut down. Town and Parish Councils voted to say the current location of the Leisure Center is ideal. User group representatives endorsed that. The current location also allows future expansion in better times.
Question: How will District Council take account of the unanimous views of the Town and Parish Councils to keep the Leisure Centre intact and located where it is now on the Littlehampton seafront providing the best access now and in the future?
Q3 - Question about plans for Norfolk Gardens in the Leisure Strategy for Littlehampton and Area:
Statements: There is little information about the impact of PROJECT 3A: (Waterfront) PARK ENHANCEMENT PLAN on the Littlehampton seafront, or indeed details of what is planned to change and "revitalize" our local recreation and fitness. We read the conceptual plan is to sell the Windmill, and part of our existing sport & fitness facilities, “to invest in a range of improvements that create a waterfront park that is branded, managed and marketed as a destination in its own right, one which encompasses a variety of different destinations of different type to integrate the East Bank, the Green, Norfolk Gardens, and Mewsbrook Park into a park with a name, while retaining distinctive component parts.”
Norfolk gardens is an important part of current leisure provision and home to beautiful gardens that make it distinctive and a great place to live. It is important not to repeat “after the fact consultations” we witnessed in developing the options for the Leisure Strategy. And otherwise to balance between local recreation / fitness provision and attracting tourist to the seafront in the summer. Question: Will District Council therefore ensure there is a genuine mechanism, this time, that enables Norfolk Gardens recreation users to join with conservation interests and area residents to discuss the detailed plans for Norfolk Gardens and its recreation provision arising from the Water Front Park Project 3A proposal.
And for the Community Working Group to decide whether to pose this broader question.
On the Leisure Strategy for Littlehampton and Area:
Statement: By unanimous vote Littlehampton Town and Rustington Parish Councillors rejected proposals in the draft Leisure Strategy for this area and they instead voted to keep the Windmill and Leisure Centre where they are. the position of our Local Councillors was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Public Meeting 2nd October, reportedly the largest public meeting of its kind in the Littlehampton area since 1982. The Public Meeting endorsed a community /working group to sit down with local authorities to develop a richer set of options concerning these facilities which the community can support.
Question: In view of the fact the Working Group has been formed, and more to the point, in view of the aims of the Localism Act and its purpose to give local communities greater control over local decisions like housing and planning, will District Council adjust their decision timeframe on the Leisure Strategy to ensure our Community User Working Group has time to do its work , and report back to the community on the Littlehamption components of that Strategy.