Plans for longest bench in Littlehampton submitted

LITTLEHAMPTON'S bid to build the world's longest bench came a step closer this week when plans were submitted to Arun District Council.

Designers Studio Weave submitted the application, which will be considered by planning councillors in November.

Changes have been made to the original design, following comments by the public. It now includes a backrest and arm rests and will run along the Promenade from the East Beach Caf to Harbour Park, if the plans are approved.

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That distance will not be long enough to equal the world record of more than 600m, currently held by a bench in Poland, but it's hoped that people paying for additional slats, on which their names or a message can be engraved, will take it further.

The detailed plans are available to view at Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton, or click here.

Tight deadline

Dr James Walsh, Arun councillor for Littlehampton Beach ward, which includes the proposed bench, voiced concerns about the tight deadline for the bench at last week's full council meeting.

He pointed out that funding for the project from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), through its Sea Change programme, relied on the bench being completed and installed by the end of March.

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Littlehampton River ward councillor Mark Butler, who also has the bench site in his ward, warned that the wall along the Promenade, to which the bench would be fixed, badly needed repointing.

100,000 private donation

Arun cabinet member for economic regeneration Normal Dingemans admitted the timetable for the bench was "succinct". The question of the wall behind the bench was being looked at as part of a "scoping" report, and Arun's engineers were aware of the state of the wall.

In addition to the CABE funding, a private donation of 100,000 has been pledged by Gordon Roddick as a tribute to his late wife Dame Anita.

Pupils from Littlehampton's Connaught Junior School worked with Studio Weave and inspired the final design with their idea of a "friendship bench".


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The bench is one initiative being progressed as part of a multi-million

pound regeneration package for the town and was included as part of Littlehampton's Waterfront Strategy, drawn up by world renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell.

As part of the strategy the public was asked what it wanted to see in Littlehampton and one of the key requests was for more seating along the seafront.

Arun's development control committee will meet to consider the bench plans at 2.30pm on November 4.


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