The Witterings, Bracklesham and Surrounding Villages:
Celebrating Local Businesses in the grips of a Pandemic
By local student Heidi King
Since 1952 West Wittering Estate PLC has been preserving the local beach for the enjoyment of the public, and even now, it continues to enable safe access during this pandemic.
Closed for over two months to enforce social distancing, the beach re opened on May the 27th in partnership with JustPark; an app that allows visitors to pre book their parking. Limiting the number of cars allowed in, WWE is able to continue public access to the beach in a safer manner. As well as fixing signage around the site, reminding visitors to socially distance, the estate has been working with the local council and authorities to improve traffic and parking overflow in the local community. They have also applied new working measures ensuring both staff and visitors remain as safe as possible.
The estate manager James Crespi said “[the new system] is working well considering the short time we had to prepare.”
As well as reopening the car park, the public can once again get take-away food, drinks, and ice-creams from the beach café. WWE have also formed an exciting new partnership with Drifters, a well-loved local restaurant based in East Wittering who have opened a very cool, rustic food van alongside the café. Drifters will be an additional catering option for thirsty and hungry beachgoers over the summer. This is a seasonal venture that will remain until September, with plans to return again in April 2021. A great example of local businesses supporting one another in trying times.
Over in Bracklesham, another café that’s been finding ways to adapt to the current crisis is Billy’s on The Beach. They reopened 5 weeks ago for takeaway service which has so far been going well. Talking about their superb location right on the beachfront at Bracklesham Bay, the manager said “the beach naturally draws people in” and says many of their regular customers, have enjoyed using the take-away service which “has brought back normality in the day-to-day”. Billy’s importance in the local community is highlighted by the “Billy’s Covid Train” - a series of hand painted pebbles snaking around the café perimeter, all created by visiting customers. The pebbles are painted with notes or images celebrating and thanking the community’s local ‘COVID-heroes’. The idea was coined by a customer and has since taken off with people contributing, showing their appreciation towards the wider community whilst stopping by to pick up a take-away drink or chips.