Safety concerns grow in Littlehampton Harbour

Arun District Council’s recently completed new rirverside walkway in Littlehampton is giving rise to serious concerns regarding safety regarding the durability of the walkway’s new safety rail.

When these safety rails were being installed, a local resident in Pier Road who has some degree of experience and expertise with these type railings expressed his concerns regarding their installation. These concerns were dismissed by the Environment Agency’s Project management team and Arun District Council.

Since then the safety railings have continually come loose and the contractors returning on a number of occasions to fix them. Local residents have also voiced concern in the Littlehampton Gazette regarding the potential dangers posed by these railings, particularly risks to children.

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As you can see in the above picture the top two rails have come loose. I spoke to a lady earlier today who said she and others witnessed a 4-yr old boy climb on these railings and somehow  they came undone while he was climbing on them. This she  reported this to Arun District Council to be told that it wasn’t their problem and they weren’t going to repair it as it was the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

Littlehampton harbourThe initial remedy to the safety problem was for someone to come along from one of the authorities and wind some red and white tape around the broken rail while leaving the dangerous gap exposed.

As a week had passed and no one had come to fix the railings, the lady who runs a business in Pier Road contacted the Environment Agency  to see if they were actually going to fix the problem. More especially as we’re approaching August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Environment Agency’s initial response to her was to say that the matter had nothing to do with them, but was the responsibility of Arun District Council.

It was after this ridiculous reply from both Arun District Council and the Environment Agency that I tweeted both parties. You can see the tweets and the replies by following the Pier Road twitter feed.

The power of twitter should never be underestimated and the Environment Agency replied via twitter saying they would get a local crew to look into it.

A few minutes later my lady received another telephone call from the Environment Agency saying they would now get someone out to deal with the problem.

And it’s not just one railing that has failed.

Littlehampton HarbourEvidence of further failings of the safety railing. I understand that this has been like this for a number of days and has gone ignored by the authorities despite their being advised of the problem.

Littlehampton harbourAnother area where the safety railing has gone completely.

Littlehampton harbour

Another area on the top of the walkway over the river where the safety railing has proved defective.

Littlehampton harbourHere again the railing has failed.

This isn’t the first instances of this railing failing. These safety railings have continually failed since the walkway was opened in April 2015. Looks very much like Pier Road’s resident who voiced concerns that these railings were being installed incorrectly was right all along and the highly paid experts from the authorities were wrong.

Both Arun District Council and the Environment Agency should treat failures in these railings with the seriousness it deserves. Children and adults climb on these railings to either get a better view or a better vantage for crabbing.

Yes, adults should supervise their children and ensure they don’t climb on these railings, but they do and will continue to do so as this is human nature.

We need to be assured by the Environment Agency and Arun District Council that the repairs that will be undertaken now permanent and these railings will fail yet again in another couple of week’s time.

Somehow I doubt we’ll get these assurances, but let’s hope we get the problem fixed once and for all.

Update:

On Monday morning, Environment Agency’s Contractor Marshalls have attended Pier Road to repair the broken safety rails.

 

As always, thanks for reading, your comments are always welcome below.

Paul

 

3 thoughts on “Safety concerns grow in Littlehampton Harbour

  1. When the new walkway was opened, I commented to my wife that the so-called “railings” would be a future danger due to children (and probably some adults) standing on them.
    Who on earth thought of spending public money on such potentially dangerous items?
    Getting somebody to come along and fix the broken strands is not an answer to the problem (unless you are the people being paid to continually provide a repair).

    The story of Arun and the Environment agency wanting to pass the buck beggars belief!

  2. I was just wondering have the steel cables actually failded, or has some stupid, inconsiderate person loosened the nut and bolt afixing the cable to the grey upright fixture.??
    I think those style of railings, with cables, looks great and gives the walkway a very nautical feel.

    • There’s no evidence that I’m aware of that they’ve been undone. Deliberately or otherwise.

      They continually work their way loose as people including children stand on the strands either to get a better view, or, to crab from. As they stand on the strands, they work loose and eventually fail. While I’d agree that these cables give a nautical feel and are attractive, their security and robustness needs to be improved. Shortly after they were initially fitted, prior to walkway being open to the public various areas had worked loose on their own raising questions regarding their safety and suitability. The authorities dismissed these concerns, however, the strands continue to fail. Even now after they’ve been ‘fixed’ they’re still loose.

      I understand there’s now an urgent review being undertaken by ROSPA to look at these railings and also other areas of the walkway including the unprotected drop on the roadside.

      Kind regards,
      Paul

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