Cracks appear in the road, north end of Pier Road

Littlehampton sea defences

Large cracks, pictured above have appeared in the North end of of Pier Road. The cracks which are large by any standards – just look at the £2 coin sitting over the crevice have opened up as the Environment Agency’s Contractors VolkerStevin have been piling the last remaining section of Pier Road.

Littlehampton sea defences

The scene in Pier Road where a large crack has opened up in the road both inside and outside the sea defence works. During the piling of this section of Pier Road the 130t crane didn’t sit on its platform as before, instead sitting on a bank of shingle. I believe this was owing to the logistical problems of working in this tight environment.

Previously the crane has sat on an especially created ‘bridge/platform’ as the engineering reports highlighted that Pier Road wasn’t strong enough to take the weight of the crane and the piling activity.

Littlehampton flood defences

This particular area of Pier Road is notable as it was originally where the town’s gas works were located.

Littlehampton sea defences

Hopefully this isn’t something serious and the EA advise that their contractors are investigating.

Littlehampton sea defences

As you can see above, the piling has all been completed save for a couple of end pieces. Work on the building the capping on top of the piling appears to be progressing well.

Sea defence works in River road

As reported yesterday, a section of River Road has now been closed to allow works to begin on the sea defence works in this area. The EA’s contractor’s VokerStevin are hoping to have this section finished and the road re-opened by October 2014.

Littlehampton Steam Packet

Road closed in River Road. The Arun View front bar will remain open throughout the works subject to site conditions as the contractors are working at the rear of the premises. Car parking for Arun View customers is available in front of the Arun View.

The Steam Packet will remain open throughout and car parking is available at the rear of the premises, but accessed via the front. Just drive slowly along in front of the Steam Packet – not turning into River Road and follow the signs.

Update on Littlehampton Sea Defences

An update on Littlehampton Sea defence works.

Piling Works in Pier Road and Arun Parade

Piling works in Pier Road are now completed. The last pile in Pier Road was driven in successfully yesterday evening and we can look forward to a quieter environment and a welcome break from the noise of the piling works.

There is however, one small gap in Arun Parade junction with Pier Road where piling will continue. This gap had to be left until last for engineering reasons. However, it won’t take long and then the Piling Crews – two of them will be moving to the River Road area.

If you’ve visited Arun Parade recently you’ll have seen that the actual flood defence wall is taking shape as the capping has been built along quite a long stretch of the Parade.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Construction 1

The finished height of the wall is causing lots of concern and comment as to it being too high. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about this. This height was advised by the Environment Agency and Arun District Council throughout the consultation period. I have some reservations as to where the height indicators were measured from, but anyway, we’re going to be looking at a very major wall structure in Arun Parade and Pier Road which is why Arun District Council who are responsible for designing and funding the public realm for these works have to get this right. If they don’t, Littlehampton residents and visitors and future generations will be looking at an almighty eye sore wondering how this was ever allowed.

We’ve already seen the budget for the public realms having to be increased by £600,000 – £297,00 actually paid into the pot with a further £300,000 being kept in reserves.

However, even with these increased budgets, the public realm provisions have been cut back. The main feature being lost was the beautiful steps leading to the beach at the Harbour Park end of Arun Parade and the planting arrangements going from attractive tiered levels to a simple all-in slope.

So, we the local Arun tax payer are paying more for less

We all need to be vigilant now. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that Pier Road, Arun Parade and Littlehampton harbour’s future isn’t blighted by complacency, naivety and a misguided belief that Arun District Council actually deliver on anything they promise.

Of note at our last Trader’s Partnership stakeholders meeting – the contractor building the public realm informed us that they’d only just received the actual plans from Arun District Council and that they’d have an actual quotation for the works available by middle of June.

So what’s gone on here then?

We were actually promised that Pier Road and Arun Parade would be finished by July. Then we had the wet-weather excuses and so forth. But now we learn that the public realms haven’t even been quoted on and we’re at the end of June.

How can anyone honestly expect us to believe that this project, that was due to finish in July, could have actually finished on time when here we are last week in May 2014, and Arun District Council have only NOW completed their plans as ask the contractor to provide a quotation for them?

Are we really meant to believe that Arun District Council had intended to provide the contractors with a final plan for the public realm at the end of May for it to be quoted for and built by 27th July some 8 weeks later?

There’s no doubt that the Environment Agencies contractor VolkerStevin has come in for some harsh criticism. Some of it, well deserved. Which one of us could forget the evening that VolkerStevin’s Site Manager, a man who previously told us he was an old hat at piling works and had never had a previous job run overtime – tell us that it would take 30 days to pile Pier Road when in fact it’s taken almost five months. When you see the complexity of the engineering and the logistics of the build, it’s easy to see why it took them 5 months. In fact, they should be congratulated for achieving this in 5 months, but why did their site manager say 30 days?

Anyway, easy to forget or overlook good old Uncle Arun when lambasting VolkerStevin.

It’s not VolkerStevin who have created a wish-list and a grandiose plan that now can’t be funded, it’s Uncle Arun and we shouldn’t let Uncle Arun sit quietly in the corner hoping that we’ll throw all our apples at VolkerStevin.

Since the previous VolkerStevin site manager (referred to above) has been relieved of his post and a replacement appointed, we really have seem remarkable results. His replacement is a no-nonsense, amenable, get-the-job-done guy who gets my vote of confidence.

We’re lucky to have him.

With this in mind, I do think that we can now start to believe what we’re being told in relation to schedules and end dates.

What’s happening in River Road and the Arun View

If you’re a twitter follower of @Pier_road you’ll have seen I tweeted pictures of the road closures that came into force on 27th May. Essentially, River Road is now closed from just outside the ‘red footbridge’ to numbers 1-5 Riverside Walk and this section will remain closed until October subject to meeting the current works schedule.

Access still remains to the Arun View Public House and The Steam Packet and it’s important to remember that the Steam Packet Public House and restaurant remains fully open and operational.

The Arun View unfortunately has had to close its main restaurant and bar are but the front bar will remain open (where possible) during this period. Works will be underway in the Arun View as the flood defence construction includes building in front of this property (riverside) and actually inside in one area. The good news is that the Arun View will re-open bigger and better than before and we can all look forward to being welcomed back to this hugely popular, successful and friendly restaurant and bar sometime hopefully in September/October.

I’m currently photographing Reach 6, this being the one you can see down by the river Arun along the Littlehampton by-pass. It’s an interesting area as the contractors have begun digging out what appears to be a lagoon. Andrew Walker of the EA has kindly agreed to answer all my questions and give a technical overview of what’s going on here  and what will the finished area look like. I know this has been of concern to a number of you as you’ve come into my shop to ask what’s going on here.

All for now, remember to sign up to regular updates for the blog by using the right hand side subscription box and don’t forget to follow @Pier_road on twitter for more regular updates and the ongoing task of forcing Arun District Council to actually deliver on their promises.

 

 

 

 

Littlehampton Sea Defences, Update

Over the past week our shop in Pier Road has had a number of visitors telling us that they’ve read that the sea defence works will be finished by the end of May.

Regrettably this isn’t the case. It would appear that this confusion has arisen following an article in the Littlehampton Gazette where it was stated:

“Good weather in spring has allowed work to progress quickly in creating the 450 meter-long tidal river wall.

This phase of the project is now due to be completed in May.”

What’s appears to have led to the confusion is that the above paragraph has given the impression that the works are finished in May. An understandable misunderstanding. However, what has been said is that the first, and probably the most difficult phase of the scheme, the piling works,  will be finished in May.

The contractor advised us yesterday, Monday 11th May, that they’re hoping to be complete of piling works within the next two weeks. There is only now two piling gate lefts in Pier Road, this being in the North end.

Once these are completed, the next phase of the works begins in Pier Road and Arun Parade, which includes creating the concrete caps on top of the piling wall. Although as the picture below shows, work on constructing the concrete cap and wall in Arun Parade has already begun and quite advanced.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Construction 1

Work has begun on the concrete capping at the top end of Arun Parade. The above picture indicates the height of the new sea wall – you can see the original railings in front of it, which gives an indication of high Littlehampton’s new sea wall will be.

Littlehampton Sea Defence construction 2

Construction of Littlehampton’s Flood Defences with the concrete capping now been constructed on top of the piling wall.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 1

As the piling wall is now almost complete in Pier Road, the back filling has begun which takes place prior to the concrete cap being constructed.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 2

The piling is now almost complete along Arun Parade and Pier Road with only two remaining piling gates to be completed to join up with the original East Bank’s riverside development flood defences.

A regular question by visitors to our shop is – Will the Sea Defence wall in Pier Road and Arun Parade  be higher than the existing wall along the East bank riverside walkway?

My understanding (from our consultation meetings) is that when the riverside development was constructed they worked to a then ’30-year standard’, which was applicable at that time. Since then the standards for sea defence construction has changed and the Environment Agency are building to deliver a ‘100 year standard’. Thus explaining the difference in heights.

It’s difficult say just how high the new wall will be, but going on what we can now see at Arun Parade, the wall will be very high. Which is why Arun District Council have to go get the public realm design right.

So no more piling?

Yes for Pier Road and Arun Parade, but once the piling works have been completed with us in Pier Road, the piling crews move onto the next reach, which is in the River Road area.

VolkerStevin have erected notices there advising that River Road will be closed from 27th May 2014 until October 2014 to allow for this second phase of construction. The actual closure will be between the Red Footbridge (which won’t be closed) and numbers 1-5 Riverside Walk.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any concerns regarding the forthcoming closure of River Road or any questions regarding the project – do pop into see Eric Smethurst who is scheme’s Public Liaison Manager. Eric’s Visitor Centre is located at the Oyster Pond and is open Wednesday to Sunday.

What about the Free Parking?

Arun District Council are only now allowing the first hour to be free in the West Green Car Park. However, you can now park anywhere in this car park and avail of the first hour free. However, the previous agreement where we were getting free parking for visitors to Pier Road and Harbour Park has now been withdrawn.

Furthermore, be aware that at the North end of Pier Road – this being the Harbour Office/Travis Perkins end – the seasonal yellow lines are back in force. There is limited 1-hr free parking here as there’s always been.

So do please  take care when parking and make sure you read the signs carefully.

Remember to keep up to date with the Pier Road Diaries, just enter your email address in the box on the right hand top (ish) side of this page and you’ll get regular updates.

You can also follow us on twitter @Pier_road

As always, thanks for reading.

Paul

 

 

Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea Officially Opened.

After long delays, Littlehampton’s newest seafront attraction The Stage By The Sea was opened earlier today, Sunday 11th May 2014 by Littlehampton’s Mayor Councillor Joyce Bowyer.

Littlehampton Stage By the Sea official opening 1

Littlehampton’s Mayor Councillor Joyce Bowyer and Littlehampton Town Councillor Malcolm Belchamber speak at the today’s opening. Councillor Belchamber was the host for today’s event.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 8

Crowds gathered to watch the official opening and just as the ribbon was about to be cut, the sun came out, which hopefully is a good omen for Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 4

Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea’s blue ribbon cut marking its opening.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 12

Members of the Edwin James Festival Choir waiting to take the stage and make history by being the Stage By The Sea’s first performers.

Littlehampton Stage By the Sea official opening 3

The Choir’s performance got an enthusiastic response from the crowd and it was interesting that despite the awful winds, the sound was clear and beautiful. The Stage By The Sea has been designed to allow microphone-less performances and the designers say that is a key feature of the shell-like structure. However, during today’s opening microphone’s were used.

Edwin Jones Festival Choir Littlehampton Stage by the Sea

Some members of the Edwin James Festival Choir performing earlier.

The Choir will be performing their “Darling Buds of May Concert” at St James The Great Church, East Ham Road Littlehampton on Saturday 17th May, 2014 together with their friends from Ontario, Canada  from the Addison Women’s Choir.

Tickets are £8 and the concert begins at 7.30. Full details on their website.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 6

There was no doubt about it, 9-year old “JD” from Wick, Littlehampton, a previous winner of “Wick’s got talent” stole the show with his own unique dance routine. Written and performed by himself, JD really won the audience over.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 7

“JD” ending his routine to rapturous applause.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 9

Folk singer, Mal entertained the crowds with his one-man folk performance his music which has very beautiful and melodic with a Celtic theme.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 11

Mal singing at the opening of Littlehampton’s Stage By The sea.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 5

Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea is located in the old Banjo Road Gardens. During today’s official opening, the audience were not allowed to go onto the grass. However, I’d imagine this was done to the fact that the turf had only been laid late this week and will need time to establish itself.

Winning Design for Littlehampton's Stage By The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea

The structure itself differs somewhat from the original artists impression as the two shell-like structures are not seamlessly joined together. Neither can you walk over the roof as was originally described.The two shells have instead been created independent of each other, divided by a lower grass walkway. On the sea-facing side there is a smaller shell-like structure which has been created as a (fairly small) seafront shelter.

The location itself, Banjo Road Car park has raised some eyebrow’s locally as this location doesn’t really allow much of on an area for an audience to gather without the necessity for closing the coach car park. However, it certainly looked great today with the sun shining down of the stage and the wonderful performances.

The Stage by the Sea can be booked for your own event via Arun District Council’s Website here

It will be interesting to see how this latest ‘quirky’ Littlehampton Seafront feature goes down with the locals and visitors.

But today at least, the sun shone and those of us who attended enjoyed some splendid performances and were reminded of the wonderful talent we have living amongst us. Regrettably I had to leave before the end of the acts and I apologise for missing out the other two final acts performances.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 10

A couple watching Mel’s folk music performance.

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The somewhat controversial longest bench structure provides an excellent vantage point for the new Stage By The Sea.