March 3, 2015 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette February 19th 2015
WALKING through the Arcade the other morning I was struck by how uninspiring it is as a place of business. There were only six small but essential outlets in the middle with each end showing blocked out windows or being long term vacant. The ceiling is shabby and the unattractive red patchwork paving very liberally spotted with pigeon droppings. Not very inviting to shoppers and offering little to encourage a larger footfall which, I suspect, has fallen away since the closure of the post office. Compared to many other seaside arcades it is not the little town jewel it could well be. Very happy to report though that the large corner shop opposite the old post office has since been taken over and stocked out as a superb new and second hand bookshop run by Rob Sheppard of Fireside Books. Rob is a seasoned bookseller with over thirty years in the business and he intends to make it more than simply a book shop with future art exhibitions, posters and authors’ talks. Very difficult to walk past it without being tempted to walk through the doorway and view some of the 20,000 or so books on offer.
ONE of my mother’s many favourite little offerings was that ‘people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.’ It took a few years for that to make any sense! However, having put a typo in last week’s Burial Ground feature referring to Ms Sue Sula as Shula – for which I have apologised – I risk inviting you to examine the posh new, and I suspect, quite expensive Arun notice boards dotted around the town and spot the spelling mistake on some of them.
WOULD you believe it, even Dr James Walsh chair of the council’s leisure tourism and infrastructure was not informed that Inspire Leisure would not be invited to tender for the next ten year contract running of our leisure facilities? I guess that was on the advice of yet more expensive consultants, and it begs more questions about the actions of the council’s cabinet.
SORRY to say goodbye to the Oxfam Shop in Arcade Road, an excellent, interesting and friendly little outlet but, sadly, not one that the Oxfam hierarchy felt to be worthwhile. It will be missed.