PLANS to allow a café to be built on Beach Green have been put on hold following complaints that half the green was being marketed to developers.
News the entire southern section of Beach Green was being touted to businesses sparked ‘major fears’ among residents, who thought just the public toilets were on offer.
Adur Council had enlisted leisure property specialists Fleurets to attract bids to turn the block into a café.
But the agents’ marketing material suggested the whole two-acres south of the road was open for negotiation.
Now the marketing operation has been suspended while the council re-draws plans of area being offered for development and consults residents and councillors.
Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association Chairman Joss Loader said although SBRA had no fundamental objection to the location of a café or restaurant on the site, it did have ‘major fears’ about the proposals as they appeared.
“We are concerned that there has been no attempt to engage nearby residents about the current proposals, and the erection of the lease-for-sale board caused considerable consternation when it appeared,” she said.
Mrs Loader said Beach Green was the only open green space on Shoreham Beach and was an important community resource that required protection.
“It is the venue for the Beach Dreams Festival and is widely used by families, young people, beach users, dog walkers and windsurfers and kitesurfers for recreation purposes and this should continue” she said.
Mrs Loaders said SBRA ‘strongly opposed’ to the whole space around the public toilet block being offered to a commercial operator.
“This sets a dangerous precedent and is likely to prompt widespread public opposition,” she said.
The green was being offered on a 99-year lease, with maintenance the responsibility of the leaseholder.
But Mrs Loader said residents believed maintenance of the green should remain Adur Council’s job.
She also said SBRA opposed any attempt to allow concessions on the beach and would object to any move to allow the successful applicant to run a kiosk and sell or hire beach equipment.
“We have no objection to ice creams and drinks being sold as part of a café operation, but not from a stand-alone kiosk,” she said.
This in line with the foreshore’s status as a local nature reserve,”
Marketing material published by Fleurets said ‘all expressions of interest’ were welcome ‘with the aim of creating a statement building’.
“Now attracting a younger population and many independent businesses, some might consider this area to be the next big thing,” wrote Fleurets’ Kate Dowd.
She said any prospective developer should offer facilities that would ‘promote the area as a cultural hub’ and ‘take into account conservation and protection of the area’s natural beauty and resources, involving local individuals, groups and families and encouraging customers from further afield to this unique location’.
The building would need to provide public toilets to serve the beach and playground.