History of Sea Lane Estate
The development of modern Middleton began after World War I. It was largely the achievement of Captain Rowlands Coldicottt who purchased considerable parts of the farmland of Manor Farm adjoining Middleton Road, Sea Lane and the sea front.
He began, initially, to build detached houses along Sea Lane before laying out two branch roads roughly parallel to the coast, Sea Way to the west and Old Point to the east. The first plots were sold in Sea Way in 1920.
Further houses were erected along and to the north of Middleton Road. By 1928 over 100 properties had been built many with roofs of handmade tiles and thatch.
He had remarkable foresight and embarked on a plan for creating, not just a residential estate [now known as the Sea Lane Estate], but also a village community particularly suited to the seaside location with its own shopping centre and leisure facilities. A Greensward was retained with rows of beach huts.
His preference for a well spaced development with traditional designs and materials is still evident today.
Further private roads were laid out and The Byway and Merry End were developed leading off Middleton Rd which itself was lined with attractive houses and shops.
Captain Coldicott also built several properties in Sea Close but the central area of the 60-acre field to the west of Sea Lane was bought by the Linfoot family who were responsible for the development of South Walk, East Close and West Close. This is formally known as the 'Sea Lane Estate', although informally this is the name used for the whole estate.
When the time came for Captain Coldicott to retire he was anxious that there should be some organisation to carry on his ideals. The Middleton on Sea Association was formed in 1937 by local residents to “preserve the amenities of the area and foster a spirit of good neighbourliness and self help among the residents”
From its early beginnings, the Association has attempted to meet the original aims and objectives as required at its foundation and has, historically, taken action, with partners, to maintain the unique appearance of the village, its coast and housing.
Coastal erosion has always been a major priority and after the Second World War action was taken by the Association with local Councils to protect the shoreline adjacent to the estate.
Today, the Association continues to hold a watching brief and a Coastal Sub-Committee was formed in 2000 to monitor erosion and liaise with the local authority on the maintenance of adequate sea defences for the area.
The Association was responsible, in 1978, for the formation of the Middleton-on-Sea (Beach Huts) Limited, a separate company, in order to acquire, let, manage and maintain the beach huts on the Greensward. The company is administered by a Board of Directors. All the members of the Board are members of the Association and one of them is the company’s representative on the Association’s Management Committee.
In 1996 Arun District Council was asked by the Association to recognise the estate and part of the village as an “Area of Special Character” and after careful consideration this was agreed.
The Association compiled a Village Design Statement for the Area of Special Character, which was approved and adopted by Arun District Council as Supplementary Planning Guidance in December 2000. The Village Design Statement was published in 2001.
The infrastructure of the estate, its roads, drains and twittens etc. is of fundamental importance to the Association and a subcommittee was set up to advise the main Management Committee on these issues in 2018.