Thinking outside the box with Shoreham Beach cafe proposal

Retired Architect Christopher Harris has come up with his own design for the cafe
Retired Architect Christopher Harris has come up with his own design for the cafe

A retired architect is calling on the developers chosen by the council to convert a dilapidated toilet block into a new cafe to think outside the box – and consider using his ideas.

Christopher Harris, of Ship Street, Shoreham, said his designs for a new cafe on Shoreham’s Beach Green are better suited to the environment than the concept envisioned by Boxpark, the company announced as Adur District Council’s preferred partner for the development.

Mr Harris' cafe proposal

Mr Harris' cafe proposal

Mr Harris, 83, said of his two storey cafe: “It has a wave shaped roof and reflects the zig zag profile of the beach huts.

“The roof would be covered with vegetated shingle to encourage wildlife which I thought would go down well with the residents.

“It doesn’t intrude upon the skyline in an unsympathetic way.

“It would blend in.”

The glass walls would be able to slide open and there would be views of the horizon in all directions.

Mr Harris, a father-of-two who worked as an architect in London for 40 years, said the design proposed by Boxpark does not complement the maritime nature of the site.

The company, which is famous for its Boxpark redevelopments in Shoreditch and Croydon, revealed its proposal for a Big Beach Box in Shoreham in April.

It would have a community cafe and could include a roof terrace, changing rooms, and a centre for watersports.

Mr Harris said the box design of the cafe was ‘very aggressive’ and added: “The current scheme is basically a modified shipping container.

“It looks like it’s been imported from Shoreditch and plonked onto the site, without any real feeling for the site at all.

“It belongs in a city setting.”

Mr Harris said he respects the architects behind Boxpark and admires their work.

“I don’t want to upset anybody,” he said.

“But if they could incorporate what I’m doing, then so much the better.

“I’m just trying to get them to think outside the box.”

He is now hoping to gather feedback from residents about his design.

“It must be as democratic as possible,” he said.

A spokesman for Boxpark declined to comment, as there have been no further announcements for the project.