This report provides an update on progress and requests that the draft design is endorsed ahead of stakeholder engagement, and that the heads of terms budget figure is increased to accommodate the Changing Places toilet grant award.
The Principal Landscape and Project Officer presented her report highlighting that it provided a general update as to how this project was progressing and it signified the start of the stakeholder engagement process. Looking at next steps, although the report had highlighted that the stakeholder engagement would be undertaken in September 2022, this was now likely to be in October and a date would be confirmed to Members shortly.
Moving forward to the proposals for the scheme, a draft layout which would form the basis of the stakeholder engagement, was shared to the meeting. It was explained that the concept layout contained the elements included within the Levelling-Up Fund bid and followed the design principles of plans previously consulted upon. A short presentation was then provided to the committee on the plans being displayed to include the different features that would be provided. The second sheet provided an aerial view to bring the area to life. It was explained that the plans were in draft form as the project moved towards the stakeholder process. As Members had been keen to see how the design proposals were forming, it was hoped that the plan and the presentation provided made it clear what the project would provide to the local community before the consultation with stakeholders commenced.
In inviting questions from the Committee, the Chair highlighted how other projects had suffered with increasing inflation and so he was keen to know if this would be an issue for this project. It was highlighted that it was difficult to predict this, however, the council’s consultants were very mindful as to what was happening globally and so they had built in a good percentage for inflation increases into their cost plans. Despite this, it was acknowledged that there needed to be flexibility and that the scope may need to be reviewed and perhaps changed as the designs were taken further forward and as solid prices for the scheme were received.
In asking further questions it was acknowledged what a good news item this scheme was for Littlehampton and the District. The plans were welcomed and as they contained nearly all features requested and the retention of the coach parking in Banjo Road, which during the summer had demonstrated that there was a continuing need for. The provision of new toilet facilities and a foreshore office was a positive and it was hoped that the public conveniences would have a changing place toilet and would contain showers for members of the public to use having used the beach. It was pointed out that most tourist towns with beaches did now offer showering facilities and these were a big attraction. Members welcomed the suggestion of water play features to include channels pools and a small number of water jets and were interested to know more on the number of jets that would be provided to make this a very usable public facility. It was also vital to receive a guarantee that whatever system was provided it would be sand proof or would have a feature that would make sand removal very easy to avoid the blocking of jets. In response, it was confirmed that there would be changing place toilets although it was difficult at this stage to confirm the exact number of water jets that would be provided. The design team would be looking at this and providing options as to what would work in the most effective way. Showers would be provided in the toilet block and family cubicles with baby change facilities too.
Moving on to other elements of the scheme and the new parking arrangements, the name of the car park as South Terrace Car Park was welcomed making it clearer to visitors where this could be found. It was hoped that signage for when visitors approached the other side of the car park could be enhanced.
A question was asked about Pier Road and what plans there were for this area as this was in close proximity to the scheme. It was explained that this did not fall within the remit for this project, however, plans were in place for Pier Road for the future.
Following further debate, questions were asked on camper van parking, car park lighting and concessions,
Having had the recommendations proposed by Councillor Cooper and seconded by Councillor Walsh,
RESOLVED – That
(1) The draft concept design, as presented, be endorsed prior to engagement with stakeholders and public consultation; and
(2) The budget figure within the Heads of Terms for the procurement of the design and build contractor is increased from £6,684,844 to £6,756,144 to incorporate the Changing Places toilet capital allocation and management fee.