Littlehampton shop owner speaks out over town centre regeneration plans

A veteran shopkeeper in Littlehampton town centre has expressed his fears over proposed regeneration plans.

Andrew Sleeman from Spokes Cycles
Andrew Sleeman from Spokes Cycles

But Arun District Council said its plans had been unanimously supported.

On March 4, Arun's cabinet voted to support a bid to the Coastal Communities Fund for £2.5million to update the town centre.

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The plans included improving the look of the routes into the town centre from the railway station and seafront, and prioritising pedestrians over cars.

Images showed how the roads could be remodelled, including a ‘narrowed vehicular space, raised tables, flush surfaces and pedestrian type materials on the carriageway’.

But Andrew Sleeman, owner of Spokes Cycles bike shop in Beach Road, Littlehampton, feared roadworks to implement the plans could hamper his business because he relied on people driving past.

He said he would ‘personally have to consider quitting’ because ‘of work they need to do’ near Barclays Bank at the junction between High Street and Beach Road.

“There would be a complete shake up of the traffic system and no-one would be able to drive down Beach Road,” he said.

Regarding the proposed brickwork on the roads, he said: “That won’t bring people into the town centre – the only way it would was if each stone had a £5 note on it.”

He said the ‘future was uncertain’ for his business, which he has run since 1989, and called on Arun to instead help independent business owners to pay their rising rents, which he said was a big problem.

The latest funding effort comes two years after a failed bid to the fund by Arun.

A council spokesman said the revised proposal ‘underwent wide and thorough consultation’ and was ‘universally supported’, including by Littlehampton Traders Partnership, of which Mr Sleeman is a member. They reiterated there was no plan to restrict traffic and Beach Road was not included in the revised plans.