What it’s like to live in Shoreham-by-Sea
PUBLISHED: 11:55 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 14 February 2017
Shoreham is growing in popularity as Brighton and Hove become ever more expensive. It offers a small town experience between the sea and beautiful Adur valley, as Duncan Hall discovers
Shoreham can be reached by the A27 which skirts the edge of the town. It is also on the south coast railway line which stretches from Brighton to Littlehampton, Portsmouth and Southampton. Southern Rail runs an average of six services every hour in each direction.
Shoreham is served by the Stagecoach Coastliner 700 service from Portsmouth to Brighton, Brighton and Hove Buses’ number 2 service from Rottingdean to Steyning and Compass Travel’s 19 from Shoreham Beach to the Holmbush Centre and 108 from Shoreham to Horsham. National Express’s shuttles number 25 from London to Worthing and 26 from London to Bognor both take in Shoreham.
Brighton City Airport is mainly used by business, training and pleasure fliers.
Shoreham has been occupied over thousands of years, with the remains of Iron Age hill fort Thundersbarrow found to the north of the town. There was a large Roman villa at nearby Southwick, and an extensive Romano-British settlement north of Shoreham at Slonk Hill. Shoreham would have been one of the first targets of William the Conqueror owing to its natural harbour’s position opposite Normandy.
In 1208 Shoreham was designated a royal port by King John. It provided more vessels for the siege of Calais in 1346 than London, Dover, Bristol or Southampton. King Charles II escaped the Civil War from the port in 1651.
Shoreham shipbuilders created vessels which sailed the world’s trade routes. The harbour is still thriving and Shoreham airport is one of the oldest licensed commercial airfields in the country.
Shoreham Beach, which an Argus article from 2009 claimed as a future Sandbanks, was created by long shore drift in the 19th century. Between the 1870s and 1940 it was known as Bungalow Town owing to the number of makeshift homes established there. In the 1920s it was home to a nascent British film industry. Sealight Film Productions built a large glasshouse studio in 1916, near the former 19th century fort. The fort was part of a coast-wide fortification against a possible French invasion, but like many of the forts built at the time it was found to be unnecessary.
Annual festivals and events
South Coast Jazz Festival takes over the Ropetackle Arts Centre every January.
June is festival season, with the Adur Festival taking over the town and Wild Life, curated by Rudimental and Disclosure, at Brighton City Airport.
And there is Shoreham Riverfest in August, literary festival Shoreham Wordfest in October and the Shoreham Bonfire on the first Saturday after 5 November.
Shoreham has its own community-run arts centre, the Ropetackle, which was named Entertainment Venue of the Year in the 2016 Celebration of Sussex Life Awards. A smaller community arts space is the West Street Loft, which hosts film screenings, fitness sessions and a Thursday night supper club.
Brighton City Airport is based in Shoreham. The Art Deco building has been used as a setting for movies Woman in Gold and The Da Vinci Code, as well as in the TV series Poirot and Tenko.
The monthly farmers’ market in East Street takes place on the second Saturday of every month offering about 45 stalls. There is a Shoreham Artisans’ Market on the fourth Saturday of every month.
The history of Shoreham is explored in the Grade II listed Marlipins Museum in High Street, which is run by the Sussex Archaeological Society.
The town centre has a small range of independent shops, small chain stores, cafés and restaurants. And there is a larger out-of-town shopping centre at Holmbush featuring branches of M&S, Tesco Extra and McDonalds. Southlands Hospital provides outpatient, diagnostic and day surgery services. Pond Road is home to Harbour View Healthcare – a merger of Adur Medical Group and Church View Surgery – and there is also Northbourne Medical Centre in Upper Shoreham Road.
Local churches include the Grade I listed 900-year-old St Mary de Haura, the even older St Nicolas Church which dates to before the Norman Conquest and the more recently built Church of the Good Shepherd in Shoreham Beach, which was dedicated in 1913.
Meet the neighbours
Chart-topping singer-songwriter Leo Sayer was brought up in Shoreham. Vlogger Marcus Butler was born in the town and now lives down the road in Brighton.
Shoreham is under Adur and Worthing Council, which has a customer service base in the Shoreham Centre in Pond Road, and West Sussex County Council. The local Member of Parliament is the Conservative Tim Loughton, who is MP for East Worthing and Shoreham.
Estate agents view
Tom Middleton of Middleton Estates in High Street, Shoreham, has seen the growth of the town firsthand. “We took on a place this week for £625,000 which the lady bought for £500,000 12 months ago – and we have already had a lot of interest,” he says.
Shoreham Beach is still extremely popular – with 2009 comments in The Argus about it being the next Sandbanks perhaps not being quite so crazy as they might have seemed. “Anything with direct beach access from the back garden is going for big money,” he says. “People have been buying bungalows for £1m, knocking them down and building houses on there – we had one sold in the last 18 months for £2.7m.”
The town is benefitting from the turnaround in fortunes of Shoreham Academy, which received an outstanding Ofsted report. Lots of Hove families have been looking to move into the area.
And there is a lot of new building to come, with luxury flats around the Ropetackle, more than 100 luxury flats and restaurants on the former Parcel Force site in Brighton Road and work beginning to drain fields for affordable housing around Shoreham Airport.
“House prices have gone up for Shoreham so it makes sense for these projects to go ahead,” says Tom. “The challenge is the road infrastructure – with the increased traffic there will need to be investment.”
• Leon Towers and his canine care centre in Shoreham-by-Sea - Leon Towers has enjoyed a variety of careers, including children’s TV presenter and foster carer. But his passion for care and rehabilitation led him to launch canine care centre House of Hugo in Shoreham-by-Sea, as he told Jenny Mark-Bell