Littlehampton Seafront overtaken by Travellers

UPDATED 30TH July 2013 – 3.30pm

Arun District Council have made the following short public announcement via their website:

Littlehampton Travellers Update

Arun District Council have obtained an Order for Possession of the land which stipulates that the travellers must leave the site immediately. Officers from the Private Sector Housing and Public Health Team have served these papers on the travellers who we expect to have moved from the site within 24 hours.

END/

I must ask – why when the Council go to all the expense of obtaining a Possession Order which states that the Travellers must vacate the site immediately, do Arun District Council insist in now allowing them up to 24 hours?

And what about the costs?

Arun District Council’s brief and in my view, wholly inadequate public statement makes no mention as to whether or not Arun District Council have applied to the courts for the travellers to cover the costs of their eviction and any associated clean up charges and repairs to the damaged perimeter fencing.

UPDATED 29th July 2013.

(Original account/early version of this post continues below – but here are some updated pictures of Littlehampton Seafront and Greensward)

Numbers have now grown from the original arrivals – hardly surprising as Arun District Council have adopted a hands-off approach refusing to take any proactive initiative in preventing further arrivals – and quite honestly are encouraging lawlessness. A number of local residents and visitors have phoned Sussex police complaining about youngsters tearing up down Littlehampton seafront on Quad bikes and Motor bikes – however this dangerous and entirely unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to continue.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront 7

Youngsters tear around the green area on motorbikes and quad bikes seemingly immune from any police or council intervention.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront update 3The green is now a dangerous no-go area as youngsters roar around on motor bikes.

Travellers Littlehampton Seafront update 5Reckless and dangerous behaviour goes unchallenged while a few awards away – dog owners are warned by Arun District Council officers that dogs are not permitted on the beach area at this time of the year.

Kite boarding bannedKite Boarding is banned, however! A few year’s ago Arun District Council decreed that in the interests of Health and Safety, Kiteboarding on the greensward was prohibited and signs were duly erected. I complained at the time saying that we should be welcoming such sports, however, the ever-safety conscious bureaucrats at Arun District Council maintained that legally if someone was hit by a kiteboarder that the council would be responsible..

Such double standards are unacceptable and as residents we should  be seeing robust action taken against lawbreakers. But we’re not seeing anything on this front other than an impotent District Council whose senior management is clearly incapable of preventing situations such as these.

Travellers littlehampton Seafront updateNumbers have grown significantly since my first report and there are indications that more on their way.

Travellers Littlehampton Seafront Update 4All sorts of business activities are now been run from Littlehampton Seafront seemingly immune from any official intervention.

Original Account from when the Travellers first arrived.

I witnessed the most bizarre and in my view, entirely unacceptable picture as Arun District Council Officers stood at a safe distance from the situation before retreating out of the area.

Entry to Littlehampton Seafront had been gained by breaking down the perimeter fence.

Not a difficult feat given the appalling state of Arun District Council’s seafront fences. I have previously complained to ADC that the fences were both in adequate and in a semi-derelict state. This has been refuted by the Council who insist the fences are in excellent condition.

Mr Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive of Arun District Council told me yesterday that his officers had checked the fences prior to the arrival of the travellers, and the council’s view they were both secure and adequate.

I believe the pictures tell a different story, Mr Croad.

Arun District Council seafront fencesRotten posts supporting a rotten fence at Littlehampton Seafront – this is what Mr Croad describes as ‘secure and adequate’.

Arun District Council seafront fences rottenArun District Council SeafrontAbove is the gate to the seafront area prised open. You can see the lock hanging below. Four rusty nails was all that was holding this together to defend the seafront greensward from being occupied.

Arun District Council regenerationNo more than a swift kick would be needed to fell this fence.

Arun District Council leisure strategyRegardless of the current problem the above poses a serious hazard to small children and members of the public and shows how easy it is for anyone to kick their way into Littlehampton’s seafront/greensward.

As I arrived on the seafront as the caravans were flooding in through the broken gap, an Arun District Council Van was speeding away from the scene and I was shocked to see that the gap in the fence, which had been deliberately broken, wasn’t being blocked up temporarily by an Arun District Council vehicle.

If I wasn’t travelling by bicycle, I’d have pulled my own van in front of the gap.

I phoned Arun District Council’s Office and spoke to Mr Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive. He’s assured me that if someone comes forward who witnessed anyone damaging the fence, he will ensure that those identified are prosecuted.

Meanwhile though, he explained that Arun would not be taking any preventative action in blocking up the gap as this would he believed lead to a potential Public Order event.

When I informed him that while I was there I witnessed many incensed people standing watching anarchy take place without any of the authorities taking any action – he assured me this wasn’t the case and lawlessness was not being allowed to prevail in Littlehampton.

I beg to differ, Mr Croad.

When you allow one section of society act unlawfully without being challenged while your officers busy themselves elsewhere slapping £65 parking tickets on local residents who’ve parked legally, but overstayed the maximum 2 hours allowed by your Council – I’d say you have a problem.

Then I discover that Arun District Council have actually taken immediate action – not the one that you’d expect or imagine but they’ve – wait for it –  dispatched Council Officers to undertake welfare checks on our new arrivals.

I wonder what local tax payer could expect such favorable treatment?

Travellers in LittlehamptonBroken FenceThe Gap in the fence where the travellers are getting in remains open and Arun District Council have refused to place a vehicle across it to block the gap up. This action would in my view, prevent further from arriving, but this isn’t of concern to Arun District Council who already are checking on the welfare of the travellers.

As I stood watching the travellers driving on to the green unchallenged, I noticed these two men who were wearing what appeared to be Arun District Council Badges.

Council Officers

ADCSAll this standing around doing nothing is clearly too much for one of them who takes the opportunity to sit on the fence – pretty much a replica of what his senior management are doing back at Candy Floss Towers -aka Arun District Council’s Civic Centre.

I have continually said to officers from Arun District Council over the past two years that the security measures to prevent such instances were inadequate. They disagreed and any useful suggestion that I offered in how they could reduce the risk of these events taking place, were refuted as being unnecessary.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront

Vehicles rushing in through the open gap. However, there’s no hurry as Arun District Council have no intention of blocking the gap and preventing further from arriving.

Broken FenceSeafront LittlehamptonLittlehampton SeafrontMeanwhile, Arun’s Parking Enforcement Officers are ensuring legally parked cars aren’t overstaying the one hour free parking allowed.

Arun District Council parking wardens.The above photograph is in Pier Road where free one-hour parking is available. A favourite place for Arun District Council’s parking wardens to wait and pounce a ticket on anyone who inadvertently overstays the maximum one-hour allowed.

Arun District Council traffic wardens

0 thoughts on “Littlehampton Seafront overtaken by Travellers

  1. Thank you for a beautifully articulated observation of events. Not emotional, not dramatic, just the facts. I applaud your efforts.

  2. Further to that, they’re now racing along the promenade on those mini-motorbikes (poor parents having to scoop up their toddlers) and on Wednesday I saw them zooming about the field on a quad bike. Phoned the police, but they didn’t appear all the time we were there. Setting up camp is one thing, behaviour that negatively impacts the vast majority from enjoying the seafront is quite another.

  3. Its also so comforting to see them drive on to the site in brand new vehicles (13 reg vw golfs, bmw’s, merc’s) probably paid for in cash. So im just so glad I can help by paying for the nice greenfield sites up keep with my council tax, and the hospitals, schools, job centres, leisure centres I contribute to which im sure they use, just so they can afford to buy these nice cars ( I wish I could buy a new car or a house but im paying too much in tax and rent to be able to save for a deposit!). I have so many questions, like, do they pay council tax?, do they have television licences, do they fill in tax returns (if so to what address do they register) – we all know the answer but.. why doesn’t the government clamp down on this??? Maybe I should become a traveller, live in a caravan and then I don’t have to pay tax either and as we all know I can stay anywhere for at least 7 days until I get a court order against me!!!

  4. What would happen if the public drove onto the green now and parked there cars, free parking, bet the council would put parking fines on them within an hour.

  5. Next weekend instead of parking in the car park or along the seafront road and paying through the nose, why not drive through the gap and park for free on the grass.

    • Maybe we should ALL go out and join them (bringing vehicles) and see what happens. After all, the fencing is already down…

  6. its a bloody joke… our children canrt play on the green because of bikes SHOULDNT BE ALLOWED. so we and out children have to suffer NOT FAIR!

  7. Beach Crescent resident.

    During the last few days I have witnessed men from the caravans using the trees around the property as a toilet. I even watched one young man drop his trousers whilst two others watched out for him and a white van draw up be the perimeter wall, open his door and urinate in full view of residents here. This is not pleasant for visitors who picnic in this area with small children and animals. We could have some very unpleasant infections around! Why can’t they use the two public toilets less than 200 yards on either side

  8. I think A.D.C should be very ashamed. So far as I can see they are behaving in a weak and spineless manner. (I would say they’re “sitting on the fence” but that appears to have been removed). And who will foot the bill for the cleanup? Well we all know the answer to that don’t we!

  9. its nice u can put up pictures and comment withoutfear of come back .. you ddon’t work forthe local authority yetyou can put up unfounded assumption about 2 officers and even you said they appeared to have adc badges so you are not sure. I know exactly who they were and what they were doing …applying the law. whilst travellers can break the law officers can not and have to go thru due process. if u want a better service complain to your elected representatives and not make snide comments about officers doing what they are authorised to do

    • The argument that if you don’t like the way something is run you should put yourself up for the job is rather a weak one – if I don’t like something my bank does do I have to open a bank, if I find my bread is stale do I have to open a bakery?! It is perfectly acceptable to question a body that has been elected to serve on our behalf.

  10. As far as I’m concerned they are no better of worse than the immigrants that have completely taken over the town. It’s a disgrace that I never hear English being spoken in the precinct, yet I don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

  11. My children were on the Norfolk Gardens mini-train with their grandparents last week when a group of children kept walking in front of the train, forcing it to stop, and attempting to steal the “drivers” money every time she tried to chase them away. My children were terrified and are no longer interested in riding the train again. No evidence to confirm they came from the travellers site, but the driver said they were and had tried several times before.

  12. Ian, your comment is just so small minded it’s unreal!! Immigrants should be welcomed into the community and how refreshing to hear someone from another country experiencing our culture and our small little town. I would much prefer to hear someone from another country than, than listening to some chav bellowing their child’s name at the top of their voice in the middle of the town!! Before you go on about them having benefits etc, please let me make myself clear – I do not agree with people living off the state, foreign or otherwise a British citizen. Get a job, pay your way, as we owe you nothing and you owe it to yourself to respect yourself and pay for your way through life. However to brand people as such is just so small minded and disappointing to hear. I suggest that next time you leave our country, try and submerse yourself in the culture of the country you are visiting and not to hang out in your all inclusive holiday along with all the other brit’s. You might just come away a better person and enriched and slightly more worldly because of it!

    Back to the travellers, it is unacceptable, however this has always been a problem for councils across the UK. It is a shame that there is a lack of education and respect with the travelling community towards our own and vice versa. However these people are people, just the same as you and me. Tolerance and time people – they all help.

    Also if the council could pull their finger out of there arse, it would be most appreciated for the residence of Littlehampton and the tourists that visit the beach. If this was a group of teenagers, I’m sure something would have been done along time ago!

    • Ian’s comment was not small minded, Immigrants are every were in Littlehampton, Its not refreshing when you see polish & Russians every were is it? This is not ever how littlehampton was, Its getting worse and worse by the year

      • We are part of Europe and a wider community are we not? This gives us the right to live and work in another country within the EU does it not? And this came in 2003. Littlehampton was engulfed with Portuguese at first and then this moved on to the Polish etc. this also gives YOU the right or your children to work within the EU and that is anywhere! So stop being so narrow minded, expand your horizons talk to the Polish, the Russians, the overseas students and see they are only human, moving on like nomads did. Looking for a better life and look where they came too… a small minded town with bunch of people that wants Littlehampton to never change… change happens, now grow with it and get with the times or grow old and miserable and moan about the young, the foreigners!! Talk to them and see how alike we all are!

        Back to the point of this blog… I cannot believe what I have seen on youtube – just watch this and look the police do nothing!!

    • I’m not sure how my comment is small minded James; perhaps it’s you that isn’t seeing the bigger picture (or refuses to). When I visit another country I envelope myself in the culture, food, traditions etc… after which I return back home.
      I have gone to VISIT. I haven’t gone to live there, take a job, use the free health service, have kids etc. Whilst I welcome visitors with open arms Visitors go back home again. These people don’t because they get a better deal here. I am all for some diversity however when you hardly hear English being spoken something is very very wrong. There are numerous other negative consequences such as a Christmas day murder here in Littlehampton, another murder in Bognor plus many other criminal investigations involving our enrichers, so forgive me if I don’t share your narrow minded left wing ideology.Regarding us having the right to go and work anywhere in Europe, in case you haven’t noticed, Europe is broke which is why so many of them are coming here! As the population increases, so does demand for housing which keeps prices high. Meanwhile an abundance of cheap labour keeps wages low so our children don’t have a hope in hell of getting on the housing ladder. The answer to this, according to the government appears to be to build ever more shoe box sized houses, usually across the green belt. I’m all for change, however change these days means decline. I grew up here and have watched it change from a lovely quiet fishing town to an overcrowded foreign slum without so much as a buy your leave from the local residents.

      • This free flow of people thing is getting real stale..dyou know anyone who has gone to latvia/lithuania/romania/russia/poland/the stans/bulgaria? Nope me neither..smallest little kindest little island(this one) is getting targeted for various financial reasons which are too controversial to be discussed by msm. I’m told they are happy/vibrant people….which is strange because they look a cross between drunk/miserable

  13. What has the council done to date? Will the local people be allowed to park free whilst the green is invaded, the school holidays and people are being restricted in enjoying themselves legally. .
    A.D.C get off your backsides and return the amenities of the town to the local people.
    This is a good advert to put off tourists visiting the town.

  14. I think every local resident and anyone who’s pleasure and feeling of safety has been compromised by these inconsiderate communities of travellers has every right to express outrage at this situation whether they work for the local authority or not. This situation has gone on seemingly unchecked for days. No attempt has been made to block the fencing, instead it has been left wide open for more and more of these people to arrive. Past experience has taught us to expect a big clean up when they finally do get moved on, at the taxpayers expense. They are behaving in a manner that anyone else would be made accountable right away.

  15. Thank you for highlighting this. We live right opposite the park and the green and during the summer holidays (as it is now) I often take the children for picnics on the green, play cricket or football. We are also normally using the park and the beach, instead we are in our flat watching the destruction of one of Littlehampton’s assets.
    I phoned the police when they started to arrive but it took them 2 hours to get to the beach and then they went off for a chat. ADC didn’t do anything except hand out leaflets and write down car reg numbers. This is a disgrace and could have been sorted much quicker if only people had taken action sooner. Hopefully they will be moved on within the next couple of days and our clean up from their unlawful stay will begin.

  16. lots of comments against the local authority but I dont see anyone saying they are putting their names forward to become councillors etc to make a change . As with all local authorities the officers are dictated by legislation and the will of your elected members. So if you want a change do something about it.

    • I must say you seem more upset by people’s critisim of the local authority than you do by the outrageous situation playing out on our beach front. Can I ask, are you a resident of littlehampton and/or someone who enjoys using the beach and the green? and do you work for the local authority?

  17. Actually pier road parkers do not inadvertantly overtay their hour free parking and in most cases work together with the ceo’s to ensure fairness at all times. Parking for 2 to 4 hours over the alloted time is hardly “inadvertant!” The travellers, when parked in contravention are and always will be treated in exactly the same way as residents. With fairness and professionalism. Nice poke at the usual scapegoat Traffic Wardens! Don’t park illegally and there would never be a problem!

  18. Just seen a from the pikeys camp one of there numbers is 07754064038 let all ring them up drivem crazy a call them until they leave lol

  19. ADC should be ashamed to let this happen,there is no excuse either for the police to ignore whats going on.Criminal damage to the fence,and children on motorbikes and quad bikes being a nuisance.some of these travellers have been seen going to the toilet in front of people.Disgusting pigs the lot of them.Who is going to pay for the clear up?

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