The Littlehampton Town Centre Public Realm Improvements project started in January.
In an update on Monday (June 20), Arun District Council said the project is ‘nearing the half-way mark’, with work ‘expected to be finished in time for Christmas’.
“The transformation to date has been given the thumbs-up from traders who have praised the new paving and planting, along with other improvements being delivered,” a council spokesperson said.
What works have been completed so far?
So far, these works have been completed:
- East Street and the eastern and western ends of the High Street are finished, with work on the middle pedestrianised sections underway;
- The newly pedestrianised section of Clifton Road with two trees and cycle rack has been completed;
- The road system has changed at the junction by Lloyds Bank with the removal of the traffic island;
- The western end of the High Street has been reduced to a single lane to widen the pavements;
- Parking bays outside Littlehampton United Church have changed direction so they are now parallel with the road and pavements and the access road to
Manor House car park on Beach Road has been permanently closed;
- Planting is now underway and post boxes have moved across the road from outside the arcade to outside the former Barclays Bank;
- The COVID-19 test centre has been removed, freeing up more parking spaces.
‘We are saying that Littlehampton is open for business’
Shaun Gunner, district council leader, said Littlehampton High Street is ‘already looking great’, with ‘bright paving, new seating, and green trees’.
"But this project wasn’t just about new paving,” he explained.
“It was about investing in the town so businesses would want to invest here as well.
"And already we are seeing new shops opening up in the high street, and new owners of the Arcade seeking to invest in the town.
"We are saying that Littlehampton is open for business, and a great place to live, to work and to visit.”
What’s due to happen next?
The council said the next stage of the project will see three new pedestrian crossing points installed on Beach Road, which will be closed to traffic for approximately three weeks from mid-September.
A spokesperson added: “The closure is necessary to allow for new drainage gulleys to be installed and connected to the sewer in the middle of the road.
"All shops will remain open during this time. Additional parking is available in Manor House Car Park and there will be a dedicated delivery bay within the car park to accommodate the businesses on Beach Road.”
There will be further works around the pavements and carriageway along Beach Road, continuing until November.
Improvements to Terminus Road will start in October / November and are ‘expected to be completed by late summer 2023’, the council said.
While contractors, Edburton, deliver the project, all businesses will remain open, and the Friday market will continue to operate as usual.
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New fibre network is an ‘added bonus’
Celia Thomson-Hitchcock, chairman of Littlehampton Traders Partnership, said: “At our recent board meeting, we all agreed that the town is looking smarter and that when the pavement is sealed, the new look will be enhanced.
"The fact that the new fibre network is being incorporated too, is an added bonus to attract new businesses to the area.
“The High Street to due to be finished by the end of the year which is great news for Christmas planned events and shopping.”
A local business owner has also had a say.
Andrew Sleeman, from Spokes Cycles, admitted he ‘had reservations about the scheme’ when it was first proposed but is impressed so far.
“The new look is making a big difference in brightening up the town,” he said.
“As a trader for 34 years and a shopper, I know the paving being renewed will not solve all our town’s issues, but let’s remain positive and use our town when we can, then maybe things will start to turn around.”
How has this been funded?
Funding for the first two phases is from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund (£2.45m), Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership Local Growth Fund (£564,000) and £200,000 from both Arun District Council and Littlehampton Town Council.
The district council spokesperson added: “Further funding will be sought to complete all phases of the project.
“Additional funding has also recently been secured for Phase 1, Terminus Road – between the railway station and High Street.
"West Sussex County Council has committed contributing £1.25m to deliver this part of the scheme which will start early 2023.
"The programme for the project should be completed in the summer of 2023.
"Further funding will be sought to complete phases 4 and 5 so the entire project can be delivered (Surrey Street and War Memorial roundabout).
"Separate funding of £19.4m for schemes to improve Littlehampton seafront and Bognor Regis’ Alexandra Theatre will come from the Levelling Up Fund.”