Arun reveals its vision for Littlehampton’s Look and Sea Centre

Arun District Council has announced its vision for the Look and Sea Centre, which closed suddenly at the end of August.

In a report written by Karl Roberts, director of place at Arun, he proposed that ‘the whole building be operated as a café/restaurant/bar and that planning permission be sought for such uses on the upper floors’ and to close the visitor information centre.

The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton. Picture: Chris Adam Smith

The Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton. Picture: Chris Adam Smith

In its place, the council would commission educational material about Littlehampton based on the current curriculum for school trips, and use ‘electronic promotional tools’ such as web and app guides to promote the town from a tourism point of view.

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He proposed that the council, which owns the building, looked for an operator to run the café/restaurant/bar for the whole premises ‘for a period of at least 25 years’, subject to planning permission and any issues arising.

In the report, he said: “The café is clearly the most popular use which is not surprising given the outstanding location it enjoys.”

As previously reported, the council gave the Look and Sea Centre £20,000 to support it months before it closed.

In the report, Mr Roberts explained the decision. He said: “At that time, the trust assured the council that with a good summer, the financial aspects of the premises would be more secure.”

The sudden closure of the building, on August 31, came about after the operators went into administration. In the report, Mr Roberts said council officers tried to address issues arising from this sudden closure, such as the disposal of rotting food.

Mr Roberts said ‘inevitably there will be a delay in getting a planning application submitted for consideration’, so he proposed that the council found an operator willing to run the café/restaurant/bar subject to planning permission in the meantime to speed up the process.

The report will be discussed by Arun’s cabinet at a meeting on October 15. It will be held at 5pm in Committee Room 1 at the Arun Civic Centre in Maltravers Road.

The options put forward to councillors will be: 1) to seek an operator to provide a café together with Visitor Experience and Visitor Information Centre; 2) to seek an operator to provide a café/restaurant/bar for the whole of the building or 3) to sell the premises on the open market. Mr Roberts recommended councillors voted for the second option.