Latest Update on Littlehampton’s Sea defences provided by the Environment Agency.

Hard to believe that Littlehampton’s Sea Defences are just a few days away from becoming a reality. With many confused as to what the nature of these works will be, and their effect on Pier Road, the Environment Agency and their partner, Arun District Council have provided this latest update to the Pier Road Diaries.

We’ll shortly be publishing an interview with members of the Environment Agency’s Project Team in a behind-the-scenes look at what is now Littlehampton’s biggest infrastructure investment.

And the Pier Road Diaries will be covering a pictorial and diary record of the project from start to finish – so make sign up to our Diary to keep up to date with the latest news during this exciting and innovative project.

More of that later, but here’s the latest update from the Environment Agency.

Work to improve the tidal flood defences along the East Bank of the River Arun is set to start in Pier Road, Littlehampton this month. The £14.5 million partnership scheme includes the building of a new tidal river wall to protect over 2000 residential properties and businesses against 100 years of predicted sea level rise. It will also vastly improve the walkway along the riverside, creating an attractive pedestrian route between the town and the beach.

 Work to the flood wall will be complemented by design work which will raise the promenade, enhancing the views across the river. Careful planning has also gone into ensuring that the new promenade has wide visual appeal through the use of improved lighting, tree planting and attractive seating areas.  The materials have been carefully chosen to preserve the coastal identity of Littlehampton whilst being robust enough to endure the exposed conditions.

 The scheme, which includes flood defences from the lighthouse on the Promenade to north of the A259, is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The project is a partnership between the Environment Agency, Arun District Council,  West Sussex County Council, Littlehampton Harbour Board and Littlehampton Town Council, all of whom have worked together to ensure the plans will deliver maximum benefit in terms of both flood defence and environmental improvements.

 Whilst Pier Road and Arun Parade will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the works and re-opening in May 2014 and July 2014 respectively, pedestrian access to both will be maintained throughout the construction of the scheme. Businesses will remain open as usual throughout the works and visitors will be able to access the shops and kiosks on Pier Road and Arun Parade as normal. Free parking only for customers of Pier Road shops, restaurants and Harbour Park will be made available by Arun District Council in the sign-posted part of the West Green Car Park from Monday 21 October 2013.

 Councillor Dendle, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, speaking on behalf of Arun District Council, said: “It will be very exciting to watch this project unfold.  We are all looking forward to seeing the end result which we believe will be a significant improvement to the promenade area between the seafront and the Town centre.  As well as protecting the many properties which would previously have been at risk of tidal river flooding, we hope that these improvements will attract more visitors and tourists to the area and provide a more enjoyable experience for local residents. It brings to fruition Arun’s long held aspiration of having a high quality, uninterrupted pedestrian link between the Town centre and the sea front.”

 David Robinson, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Operations Manager, said:“This is a major landmark in this important flood defence scheme. We are very keen to work with residents and businesses throughout this project and I would like to thank them in advance for their patience and understanding whilst these construction works take place.”

 An information office and notice boards will be set up on site for businesses and visitors to the area to find out more about the scheme and to be kept informed of its progress.  Further information will also be available at our website

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/littlehamptoneastbank

or by contacting the project team on 08708 506 506 or by email at littlehamptoneastbank@environment-agency.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

Chaos in Pier Road and the sea defence works haven’t yet started.

Pier Road closedOn Saturday, Littlehampton Town proudly hosted the Freedom of the Town – a wonderful event to recognise the Royal Marines who were based in Littlehampton during 1944.

The Unit at the time was founded and commanded by Ian Flemming who later went on to create James Bond. At the time the Unit were called the 30 Assault Unit and were based in the Marine Public House, Selborne Road. The public house is now being converted into apartments, but the Marines legacy lives on.

And rather fittingly, the Town Council have granted the Marines the Freedom of the Town in a spectacular event, which took place on Saturday with a parade and a service at Littlehampton’s Caffyn’s fields.

However, in Pier Road on Saturday it was more of a charge of the Light Brigade than a celebration of the Royal Marines and Ian Flemming’s memory.

As Pier Road was closed to vehicles while the parade took place in the town centre, many motorists became irate at having their onward journey blocked and took to driving on pavements to the danger and detriment of pedestrians as they desperately tried to flee the area.

DSCF2321The silver car pictured above outside the Waterfront became so impatient that he had simply left the queue and drove down Pier Road the wrong way and then once he couldn’t get any further reversed all the way back up the same way all the time eating an ice cream. He finally managed to turn around and speed off up Pier Road shaking his head as if everyone else was to blame for his own arrogance and impatience.

The reason I’m telling you this..

Is that in a few days, Pier Road will be closed to vehicular traffic for at least six months. I’ve asked to see the Traffic Management Plan for the area during this time, and the plan I’ve seen isn’t so much a traffic management plan, but more of a traffic jam manifesto. The type that West Sussex County Council are infamous for.

You’ll be familiar with these – it involves either blocking or partially blocking a road or carriage way with a metal sign depicting a man working on a road – but no  man or men can ever be seen. Anyone who drives along the Lyminster Road at the junction with the A27 will be familiar with this arrangement.

Chaos and road rage ensues followed by the inevitable irate phone-ins on the BBC Southern Counties radio show….

Going by what we witnessed in Pier Road on Saturday, and given the lack of patience of many car drivers, I believe this is a remedy for road rage and potential accidents.

I’ve raised my concerns (prior to Saturday’s events) with the Environment Agency and to date there’s been no response.

There won’t be, of course, as nobody working on this project has ever taken the time to understand the dynamics of Littlehampton’s traffic flows and the importance of Pier Road as a primary artery in ensuring free flow of traffic.

And if you think I’m exaggerating – below is a picture of the last attempt by the Environment Agency of controlling traffic flow in Pier Road when they closed a lane for 3 weeks and quite literally chaos ensued trapping even police cars in the ensuing chaos.

Pier Road Littlehampton

Work begins on Littlehampton’s Stage by The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton's Stage By The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea

Good news for Pier Road and Littlehampton’s seafront as the work to create Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea gets underway.

The project was due to begin earlier in the year, suffered what Littlehampton Town Council described as ‘unavoidable delays’, but is now underway.

The innovative structure is being created where the original Littlehampton Band Stand used to be just above the Bango Road Car Park.

Earlier this week, (1st October 2013) the bulldozers moved in and cleared the original site which had been a quiet picturesque garden. Only lady I spoke to described it as ‘vandalism’, she said. ‘I don’t know what the council is doing,’ she said. ‘We have this monstrosity (pointing to the East Beach Cafe), then this (pointing to the longest bench) and now this..’

Often in Littlehampton it’s difficult to find a fan of the recent seafront structures – the East Beach Cafe, the World’s Longest Bench and the new seafront shelters, but I must admit to being a fan.

I love them all and can’t wait to see the new Stage by the Sea completed.

Stage by the Sea siteThe site where Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea is being created.

The project, funded and managed by Littlehampton Town Council is in part response to demands by locals for a bandstand to be re-instated. The Stage by the Sea is a modern take on the old band stand and this exciting building when completed will also act as a seafront shelter, and apparently be so low on one side that you can walk over it.

Cue the skateboarders, rollerbladders and the Littlehampton’s Gazettes prolific letter writers who I can imagine will out in force objecting to what will be seen in their view as yet another ‘modern eyesore with health and safety risks.’

Yet it’s good to see that Littlehampton is forging ahead with some bold and innovative projects such as this. There’s no doubt that Littlehampton seafront provides an excellent location for concerts and events and with this new stage, we can really forge ahead in attracting some exciting events.

Stage by the Sea Littlehampton Sea frontLittlehampton Town Council’s Site Notice giving a useful update on the project.

It’s expected to be finished by November and operational by the New Year.

Stage by the Sea LittlehamptonThe site being prepared to build Littlehampton seafront’s latest attraction  – Stage by the Sea.

Cuts by Arun District Council spark a revolt

Screams the headline in this week’s Littlehampton Gazette.

It was enough to make me reach deep into my pockets and part with the 75p it now costs to browse the week old news in our local advertiser.

In the absence of a murder, headlines like this sell newspapers.

I could scarcely wait to get back to Pier Road towers, forgoing on my way an opportunity to remonstrate with a group of the now all too familiar drunks who have taken up residence in Littlehampton town centre of late.

The small village of Balcombe got the fracking protestors, which in turn led them to getting what’s left of our much needed local police force, consequently Littlehampton town centre, with the notable absence of a local effective police force, has got a wave of drunks in doorways…

But, I diverse.

Back to the headline.

I opened the paper with increasing excitement to find out what the exact nature of this ‘revolt’ at Arun District Council was all about.

I needn’t have bothered.

A revolt at Arun District Council is about as likely as a mass walkout by terminally ill patients in hospice care.

So what’s it all about?

Well, same old story really.

Arun District Council are supposedly broke and accordingly cut backs are continuing. Now instead of targeting the residents, time to target the local councils which Arun fund.

So, wham bang slash and in a moment of death-by-powerpoint-equal-opportunity driven frenzy – Chief Executive Nigel Lynn has decreed that Arun will cut its funding to councils as follows:

First up is the biggest loser, The Town Council who are to loose all of the £147,000 that Arun pays it in subsidies every year.

Let that be a lesson to the Town Council’s clerk, Peter Herbert for writing Nigel Lynn an unpleasant letter earlier in the year where he accused him of acting unlawfully when he alleged that Nigel and a few select councillors together with the Chief Executive of Inspire Leisure conspired behind closed doors to close the Windmill cinema.

Not only that, Peter Herbert had the cheek to expect a reply – and wrote another scathing letter when no reply was forthcoming.

Never bite that hand that fees you, Peter.

Next up for Nigel’s Cash for slash – is  Rustington Parish Council set to loose a whopping great £48,000

Arundel Town Council is going to loose £12,000.

East Preston – £13,000

Yapton – £4,800.

(Yet Arun District Council have only recently commissioned yet another £12,000 Consultants Survey to look at the swimming pool)

Hey, listen, Nigel, unlike yourself I’m not fortunate enough to earn a salary circa £115,000 such as yours – and I don’t bedruge you it. But just think, if we got rid of you and replaced you with a voluntary Chief Executive, there’d be enough money to continue to pay for all the Parish councils as well as making a significant contribution to the Town Council.

All very well you saying we have to make these cuts, however, only last week you approved yet another £12,000 to be paid to consultants.

So, poor old Yapton Parish Council who I would imagine rely heavily on the relatively small £4,800 a year they get see their budget slashed. While the already affluent private consultancy industry get another £12k at our expense.

Something wrong here.

So, yes, I agree with Dr Walsh whose come out with some real impressive fighting talk in this week’s Gazette:

“In effect, Arun is stealing money due to parish and town council to stuff into its already massive reserves of £32m.” He says in this week’s Gazette.

So where can we all join the revolution?

Ah, well, we can’t.

The Revolution scheduled for the 26th October 2013 is taking the form of a Committee meeting.

Promising a night of outraged finger waving, coffee and biscuits….

The Beach Hut in Pier Road Closes.

Sad to announce that the Beach Hut in Pier Road has closed its doors.

On behalf of all the Pier Road Traders, farewell to Andy Cooper and his lovely wife, Ali – proprietors of the Beach Hut in Pier Road.

Andy has taken the decision to pursue pastures new and close his Pier Road shop.

Citing a combination of factors, including the short lease he had on the property and the potential impact of the impending Environment Agency’s Sea Defence works, Andy is looking forwarding to exploring new opportunities away from Pier Road.

Andy took over our old premises at 47 Pier Road, which we moved down to the next premises at 46A Pier Road. I’d known Andy prior to him opening the Beach Hut and I was delighted he’d chosen Pier Road to base his business.

It’s a shame he’s gone, but he has agreed to sit in on future Pier Road stakeholders meetings regarding the future of Pier Road and the Environment Agency’s sea defence works.

The Beach Hut Pier roadAndy and his wife, Ali saying goodbye to Pier Road.

We wish them well for the future.

Thankfully, bucking the National trend, we won’t be faced with another empty shop as the premises has already got new owners and 47 Pier Road is due to open this Saturday, 5th October as a Fishing Tackle and Bait Shop – HOOK A FISH.

More on this in a future post.