Update on the Littlehampton Ferry.

Littlehampton Ferry

I previously reported that it was doubtful that Littlehampton’s Ferry would be running this year. I understood (wrongly as it turned out..) that this was owing to the lack of suitable pontoon space and landing area. The original pontoon having been removed to facilitate the construction of Littlehampton’s Flood defences.

However, I now have it on good authority that the Environment Agency’s Contractors – VolkerStevin were very concerned to hear that their construction works would potentially hamper the running of Littlehampton’s Ferry. Consequently they’ve now offered to provide a suitable pontoon area and landing area from which the ferry could operate from.

I understand that this offer has been declined.

Full credit must be given to VolkerStevin for coming up with this offer and making every attempt to facilitate the operation of our ferry.

But why isn’t the Littlehampton ferry going to run this year?

My understanding is that the ferry has never actually made any money and was in a loss making situation. No surprises here as the reason the original ferry operation was discontinued is a result of ongoing losses.

Some years ago when I was running the Oyster Pond boating lake on behalf of Arun District Council I looked into re-launching the Littlehampton Ferry. At that time I undertook a feasibility study, which included talking with the previous ferry’s operators – Littlehampton Harbour board and I couldn’t see how the ferry could be made to work without substantial public subsidies.

Whatever the reasons for the non-operation of the Littlehampton ferry, it’s important to clarify that the non-operation is not as a result of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences. And, every effort has been made by the Environment Agency’s Sea Defence Contractor, VolkerStevin to accommodate it, should it be re-instated.

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As always, thanks for reading and do feel free to add your own views below.

#Littlehampton Sea Defence update

Work is really flying along now in Pier Road as the Environment Agency’s Contractor VolkerStevin makes steady progress.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 4

Pictured above is how Pier Road junction with Arun Parade is now looking – the crane has moved South along Pier Road and you can just see the tops of the recently installed piles rising above the height of the road. Don’t forget to click on the pictures to expand them to give a better view.

Flood Defences 4

This was the scene only a couple of weeks ago when VolkerStevin were building the shingle ramp to enable the crane to access the especially created crane bridge.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 5

The 130 tonne Crane is now pretty much of out sight of the junction with South Terrace. Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison Manager tells me that they’re still on target to complete the piling in Pier Road sometime in May, which is good news.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 1

This is the scene now in Pier Road  – a hive of activity and it’s fascinating to watch the piling up close. We’re getting lots of visitors to Pier Road who are interested in the engineering side of things. Do remember if you’re coming to see the works, search out Eric Smethurst in the visitor centre just by the Oyster Pond. Eric’s visitor centre is full of interesting drawings and facts about the project.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 3

This is what the area beneath the piling looks like close-up. You can see that the contractors are backfilling the area behind the recently installed piles with shingle. This is as I understand it, to ensure that the piles are kept in place to allow the crane bridge sit on them as it drives along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 6

Quite a sight – the crane sitting high above Pier Road on its platform as it drives the next batch of piles in.

Crane Bridge

Photographs can be a bit misleading when it comes to the sheer size of the crane and its specially created ‘crane bridge or platform’. Click on the above picture and you  get a sense of just how big it is. This bridge sits with one half on Pier Road and the other half sits (quite amazingly) on the piles they’ve just installed.

Piling gate

Above is a picture of the piling gate being made ready for the next batch of piles. Once each batch of piles are successfully driven into the river bed, the gate has to be reassembled and then rebuilt to take the next batch. Easy to see why this isn’t a quick process and more importantly, why there can be no reliable completion date as there are so many factors which will determine its progress.

If you missed the video of the crane mounting the bridge, I’ve now managed to get it uploaded to the site and it features below.

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Littlehampton RNLI Rescue by “Blue Peter 1”

Littlehampton’s RNLI is a very busy station.

Each year they handle lots of calls ranging from stranded dogs to sadly, deaths at sea.

Here’s a few pictures from one of their rescues last weekend (15h March 2014) to a stricken motor vessel.

RNLI Littlehampton 7

The Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat “Blue Peter 1”  being launched from the RNLI’s station in Littlehampton Harbour. Blue Peter is an Atlantic 75 Lifeboat. Her twin 70hp outboard motors give her a maximum speed of 30 knots and she has a self-righting system in the event of a capsize.

RNLI Littlehampton 1

Safely launched, Blue Peter 1 turns towards the harbour entrance and the power is on to get out to the emergency as soon as possible.

RNLI Littlehampton 2

Photographing Blue Peter 1 as it leaves the harbour isn’t easy as it quite literally rockets past. Good news if you’re the unfortunate ones relying on its assistance.

RNLI Littlehampton 3

The blue flashing light indicates it’s not a training exercise.

RNLI Littlehampton 4

Before long it’s out of the harbour.

Then returns with the stricken vessel alongside where it puts the boat back on it’s original mooring. I understand that this call was to an engine failure. The seas off Littlehampton can be quite treacherous and an engine failure can potentially be catastrophic in the confused and fast running harbour entrance.

RNLI Littlehampton 5

Safely back in the calm and shelter of Littlehampton Harbour.

The RNLI at Littlehampton are always on the look out for volunteers, whether this be crewing or to help with onshore activities including fundraising – just pop into the station a friendly chat. Or visit their Website for further information.

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Littlehampton’s Action Boat will not be running this Season.

Sad news – No Action Boat for this coming Season.

Action Boat

Earlier this week I caught up with the guys behind Littlehampton’s popular white-knuckle powerboat rides –  Action Boat  They confirm that owing to the Sea Defence works they won’t be able to run their popular rides this season.

Apparently the problems with access to and from the boat are just too great now that Action Boat’s berthing pontoon has been removed while the sea defence works are underway. They are hopeful that they’ll be back again in action in 2015. But this is a big blow for Littlehampton as this was one of our newest and most popular waterside attractions.

And it’s not just Action Boats that will be affected by lack of pontoon space.

One of the biggest problems facing Littlehampton Harbour this year will be the lack of visitor berthing space for visiting boats.

Littlehampton harbour 8

Last year we enjoyed  a bumper season with visiting yachts many of them arriving as part of ‘Rallies’.

These boats and rallies bring a very welcomed spend to our local businesses – restaurants, shops and bars doing exceptionally well. Each year my own bike shop in Pier Road does well with cycle hire with visiting mariners and we also manage to sell a number of bikes to them.

But with the restricted pontoon space, it’s difficult to see how they’ll all fit in.

And, sadly  the future of the Littlehampton Ferry also looks to be in doubt.

Littlehampton Ferry

Latest update I can get on the Littlehampton Ferry is that the boat is up for sale and the previous operator (Action Boats) has confirmed it won’t be running the ferry as part of their operation.

Again even if a buyer is found it’s difficult to see where a suitable embarking and landing pontoon would be found as the original pontoon has now been removed as has the steps leading to it.

No doubt it’s going to be a difficult season for us as we’ve lost these two very popular attractions.

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Latest Update from Littlehampton’s Sea Defences

Last week, the crane was successfully positioned on its new Crane Bridge, which will now carry it along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 2

The week got off to a flying start as the first batch of piles were driven into the River Arun in the Pier Road stretch. Above, the crane sitting proudly on it’s new crane bridge which as you can see, part of which, rests on the piles.

Littlehampton sea defences 1

The Crane on its new platform beginning the piling works in Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences paddler

A paddler getting a closer look at the construction of the Environment Agency’s flood defence scheme in Littlehampton. From the above picture, you can see the piling works in the Pier Road reach are making considerable progress.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 4

The second part of the crane bridge arrived earlier in the week and this has now been assembled in front of the original bridge allowing the crane to move forward to begin on the next batch of piles.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 2

Welders working on assembling the new section of the crane bridge.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 6

Once this new section of the crane bridge was completed, the crane drove forward into its new position further along Pier Road. Work is now underway to remove the section of the crane bridge that the crane was sitting on, which will then be positioned in front of this section, thus allowing the crane to ‘leap frog’ along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 3

The structure in front of the crane bridge is the piling gate, which has to be assembled to allow the crane position the piles into the gate so they can be driven accurately into the river bed. It’s easy to see why this won’t be a quick job.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 5

The area behind the piling is back-filled with aggregate.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 7

The first pile in the next batch is positioned and once in place the piling gate will then be fixed to it allowing the other piles to be carefully positioned. When all the piles in this gate are successfully driven home, the now redundant section of the crane bridge will be positioned on top of them thus creating the next platform the next gate and so on until they reach their final destination in Pier Road where they’ll marry up with the riverside walkway.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 8The vibro hammer drives in the pile to it’s first position and the pile is then driven home with the banging hammer. The one that you can hear most days now. While not a particularly welcoming sound, it is good news as when you can hear it, you know the work is underway. The Contractors estimate that piling should be completed in Pier Road sometime in May.

Littlehampton flood defences 1

Above, the piling gate has now been assembled and is in place to allow the crane position the next batch of piles.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 3

Appearances can be misleading and while Pier Road gives a great view of the works in progress, it doesn’t show the actual progress that well. The above stretch of piling has been achieved in super-quick time.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 4

As you step back on the West Beach side and take in the view, you can see just how much progress has already been achieved in the Arun Parade Reach.

Pier Road Littlehampton

Above picture illustrates the increased height of the flood defences. On top of the piles will be a concrete capping, railings thereby increasing its height even further. As you can see this will impact on the views looking out from the restaurants once the scheme is completed.

It’s vital that the enhancements to ‘soften’ the impact of this wall is successfully created, otherwise Pier Road and it’s roadside environs will be looking at a concrete wall for its future.

Apologies that I had no blog update last week as the Pier Road Diaries have moved severs. A couple of technical hitches have now been sorted out and we’re back on track.

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