West Wittering, famous for its sandy beach and blue flag status, draws people from across the country. But it could look very different today, if it hadn’t been for the rallying of residents back in 1951.
In those days, the area was owned by the Church Commissioners, and the word got round that they were in talks with both Butlins and the National Coal Miners Union, who were keen to transform the area into a huge holiday camp. Something that did not go down well with the locals.
The West Wittering Preservation Trust was formed, to protect the land that formed the car park, which itself had been running as a successful business since the 1920s. The Church Commissioners wanted nearly £22,000. Chichester District Council was approached with a plea for funding assistance, but declined to help. So it was down to the local residents, and, by investing in shares in the newly formed West Wittering Estate Ltd, the residents raised just over £22,500 to purchase the land. In 1964, the Estate gifted East Head to the County Council, and it is now owned by the National Trust.
The main beach remains privately owned to this day, with locals on a waiting list to become one of the 450 or so shareholders. The company reinvests revenues gained from the car park into improving facilities and safety whilst preserving wildlife and the natural habitat.
With the aim of preventing long traffic queues coming south to the beach and to protect the environment and the local community, you must pre-book your parking slot via Just Park.