Seafront café and water sports facility is approved

An artist's impression of plans for the Littlehampton seafront shelter, which could become a cafe and kitesurfing school SUS-171121-142745001
An artist's impression of plans for the Littlehampton seafront shelter, which could become a cafe and kitesurfing school SUS-171121-142745001

A former world champion windsurfer scored his latest victory when his vision for a seafront café and water sports teaching facility was approved.

Jamie Hawkins will demolish the seafront shelter in Sea Road, Littlehampton, and replace it with the all-year round attraction which Arun District Council hopes will boost tourism.

The proposal attracted 48 letters of support and 16 objections from residents –but the critics were joined by Littlehampton Town Council which argued the designs would spoil the character of the beach.

But Arun’s development control committee unanimously backed Mr Hawkins’ application last Wednesday.

Speaking of the support he gathered for his scheme, Mr Hawkins told the committee: “Our online media campaign reached over 35,000 residents with nearly 100 per cent being 100 per cent behind our idea. The positive response from this was absolutely staggering.”

The building will be a single-storey design but includes a roof terrace for café users. A disabled platform to enable access to the terrace was added after the initial plans were submitted.

The building still retained some of the shelter element, councillors were told, with an overhang on the roof.

Welcoming the plans, Littlehampton councillor Alan Gammon said: “I don’t have any problems with it. I think it will be good for Littlehampton and will probably be a string to its bow eventually.”

Other councillors noted there was little else to attract visitors to the beach where the shelter was located.

Councillor John Charles, cabinet member for planning, said: “I think this is quite an exciting thing. It is a modern building which can only be good in that area because there is nothing there at all.”

Arun District Council invited tenders for the shelter’s replacement in a bid to support and enhance the town’s tourism offer.

The facility could open next year, Arun said on Thursday.