Studio Weave has developed designs for the bench, which would start at the site of Heatherwick Studio’s East Beach Café and run westwards along the seafront.
Funding of £500 000 has already been secured, from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment’s Sea Change programme and Gordon Roddick, husband of the late Body Shop founder Anita. This would be enough to build a 483m-long bench.
The team behind the bench say they need at least a further £100 000 to make the bench longer that the current record-holding bench, located in Poland, which is 613m long.
To this end a website, www.thelongestbenchintheworld.com, has been set up where people can pay a fee to have their names or a message stamped on one of the bench slats.
Maria Smith, of Studio Weave, says the consultancy was approached in 2006 by Jane Wood and Sophie Murray, the clients behind the East Beach Café, who were interested in developing a bench project.
Studio Weave had been working with Wordsearch chairman Peter Murray – who is Jane’s husband and Sophie’s father – on a project for the London Architecture Biennale, where the consultancy collaborated with schoolchildren to create a sculpture.
It has also worked with local schoolchildren, from Connaught Junior School, on the bench design.
Smith says, ‘Littlehampton has an enormous green and quite a level promenade, and we wanted something that could adapt to that existing situation. This is why the bench wiggles and loops around, and sits quite lightly on what is already there.’
She says the bench plans will go forward for planning ‘as quickly as possible’, and that work should start on site by the end of March 2010.
The bench is part of Littlehampton’s regeneration plans, supported by Arun District Council and drawn up by architect Sir Terry Farrell.