Southern Water forced to abandon emergency works in Pier Road owing to traffic chaos.

Now Updated with a reply from Southern Water (follows below main post)

Southern Water have been left looking like idiots this morning (Monday, 19th October) in Pier Road, Littlehampton.

On Friday, 16th October 2015 without any direct consultation or notification to local residents or businesses in Pier Road, representatives from Southern Water laid a number of ‘no parking cones’ along Pier Road announcing that emergency works would take place the following Monday and Tuesday.

Parking was suspended – with dire warnings of vehicles being towed away if they remain parked.

Southern Water works in PIer RoadAbove: Southern Water’s No Parking Signs which appeared without notice on Friday afternoon.

Then on Saturday, a traffic management system was dropped off and left on the pavement in Pier Road.

Southern Water emergency works in Pier Road, LittlehamptonAbove: Traffic control systems arrived on Saturday ready for Monday’s start..

And then today, Monday morning the contractors duly arrived in Pier Road ready to undertake the ’emergency works’ only to discover that as parking is permitted along both sides of the Pier Road carriage way, double lines being only seasonal, therefore rendering it impossible to close a single carriage way of Pier Road.

They would have known this had their officials bothered to check with local business owners and residents.

A child could easily work out that if you’re going to close one carriage of Pier Road, you’re going to need to suspend parking the entire length of Pier Road, and not just opposite and around the area you need to dig up.

Now that Southern Water have left Pier Road, to return at some undetermined time later to complete their emergency works, this begs the question as to how urgent these ’emergency works’ actually are?

Most of us would assume an emergency being something that requires immediate attention.

Not so when it comes to Southern Water.

But then addressing customer satisfaction is not something Southern Water are renowned for. In 2013 the company received the undesired accolade of being the most complained about utility company in the UK generating a staggering 23,000 complaints in one year alone. They did however, manage to generate pre-tax profits of £156.9m in the same year.

And why are these works necessary?

Pier Road has only recently being opened to vehicular traffic having been closed for almost 2 years during the Environment Agency’s protracted flood defences works.

Therefore it’s extremely worrying for residents and businesses in Pier Road, that despite over £22.5m being spent jointly by the Environment Agency, Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council that Southern Water are now planning to dig up Pier Road’s new surfaces.

To-date, my requests for an explanation from Southern Water as to why these works are required have been ignored.

So, we’re stuck with rumour.

Rumour has it in Pier Road that the reason for Southern Water’s emergency works it that the underground pipe works have been damaged as a result of the Environment Agency’s flood defence works and that flooding is now being experienced in roads behind Pier Road.

Whatever is going on, it’s not good news.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen grim-faced senior representatives from the Environment Agency, Arun District Council and the Environment’s Agency’s contractors, VolkerStevin meeting in huddled groups along the new walkway. Steps have been measured, gradients measured, failing concrete examined and now Southern Water want to dig up part of the recently laid new road.

As for the chaotic nature of Pier Road’s traffic flow  I have previously (along with many others) made representations to West Sussex County Council’s Highways officers and senior officers at Arun District Council that re-opening Pier Road without any changes to the traffic flow and management was mistake.

How could anyone spend £22.5m on a massive regeneration programme for Pier Road and re-open Pier Road with a narrower road than previously, allow 2-way traffic and allow parking on both sides of Pier Road?

And as for Southern Water – In September 2015 this company was fined £160,000 with additional costs of £27,000 at Chichester Crown Court in a case brought against them by the Environment Agency. Southern Water had pumped over 40 million litres of untreated sewage into the sea off Worthing.


Emergency work in Pier Road, Littlehampton

Southern Water applied to West Sussex County Council (WSCC) for an emergency works order at the end of September, to repair a 9″ main on Pier Road.

WSCC gave us permission to carry out these works on Monday 19 October.

We didn’t apply for a road closure, choosing instead to put up temporary traffic lights as a way of minimising disruption to residents and businesses. In the days leading up the works we notified residents by way of signage and cones – asking people not to park in the area on that date, to allow our workmen access.

SW understands that whilst vital, repairs can cause disruption and we seek to minimise this as much as possible – for example with the use of temporary traffic lights rather than road closures.

Unfortunately when we arrived to carry out the repair, cars were parked along the road, meaning our workmen were unable to put up the temporary traffic lights and therefore could not safely go ahead.

We will be reapplying to WSCC to carry out the works as a matter of urgency and would ask drivers to help us by keep an eye out for any work related ‘no parking’ signs.



So, Southern Water’s latest method of communication important information to their customers is via attaching notes to traffic cones, which are intermittently placed outside a few doors.

The statement doesn’t explain why the works are deemed as ’emergency works’ given that very obviously there’s no immediate requirement to fix/repair/replace anything.

Clearly another example of Southern Water riding rough-shod over local residents and businesses. If they’re not pumping untreated sewage into our seas and beaches, they’re abdicating their statutory obligations by sticking notes to traffic cones.

I despair, I really do.


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


Friends of Shoreham Air Crash victim, Matt Jones release a moving tribute

A group of Matt Jones friends have released a moving tribute to Littlehampton’s Matt Jones who lost his life in the Shoreham Air Crash.

The track “Bridge of Flowers” is a moving song dedicated to those who lost their lives, their friends and family, who are left behind.

Speaking in this week’s Littlehampton Gazaette, Singer-songwriter Nino Vydeenaden, 21 explanied that he’d known Matt through friends for a number of years and when he’d died he decided to write a song. Joined by fellow singer-songwriters Jack Hibbert, 19 and Fred Edwards, 22 the three composed the song Bridge of Flowers.

Released on SoundCloud by StreeetPoets.

The band consists of:

Fred Edwards (FreddyE) Bars
Jack Hibbert (Furii) Bars
Nino Vydeenaden (NinoV) Vocals


You can listen to the very moving and beautiful Bridge of Flowers here.

Matt Jones, Remembered

Arun District Council get ‘tough’ with Morrissons Supermarket in Wick

The lion that is Arun District Council’s planning department, has roared.

Well actually, growled softly.

Or to be more accurate, waved it’s furry paws at the supermarket giant, Morrissons – for their continued failure to comply with the conditions of their planning consents.

This story dates back to April 2012 when Morrissons applied to Arun District Council to build a new supermarket on what was the old Body Shop’s premises. Arun District Council’ Planning department granted Morrissions permission to build, on the basis that Morrissons would include an ‘Enterprise Hub’ as part of their store.

The Enterprise hub was to provide offices for small businesses to rent for up to 200 employees.

The planning consent stipulated the Enterprise Hub must be completed prior to the store opening.

Unsurprisingly, Morrissons ignored the planning stipulation and opened their new store and failed to provide an Enterprise Hub.

Meanwhile Arun District Council’s Planning department, somewhat surprisingly, let them get away with it.

Until now (some 3 years later) when Mr Karl Roberts, Arun District Council’s Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration, has finally roared into life and written to Morrissons advising them they must comply with the conditions of their planning consents.

Mr Roberts is unapologetic in his harsh approach to Morrissons.

” The council doesn’t take enforcement action lightly but it is important that planning rules and procedure is followed correctly.” he says. ” I hope Morrisons will take swift measures to remedy the situation otherwise the council will need to consider further action.”

Enforcement action, Mr Roberts?

What enforcement action?

You’ve finally got off your backside after 3 long years and done what exactly?

Written a letter.

How about comparing your so called ‘enforcement action’ against Morrissons supermarket, to someone whose parked legally in an Arun District Council car park, paid for parking but returned later than they’ve paid for. Here your council’s enforcement action slaps the ‘offender’ with an instant £70 fine.

Unlike your council’s treatment of Morrissons, there’s no ignoring an overstayer in one of Arun District Council’s car parks. Or of course if you’re unfortunate enough to be late in sending your monthly council tax payment to Arun District Council expect to get a demand from the council that you now pay all your council tax in advance.

Or how about the classic Arun District Council enforcement action, as demonstrated by Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive at an Arun District Council planning meeting in 2013?

This really is a classic. A  meeting of Arun District Council’s planning committee where the public have been invited to attend.

However, as Arun District Council underestimated the level of public interest, they failed to provide enough room for those in attendance and a large section of the public were debarred from taking part.

Mr Croad’s response is to bait the crowd by accusing them of being silly. Of course they were being rather silly, Mr Croad. Foolish in believing that someone as inept as yourself could actually successfully arrange a public meeting, and correctly gauge public interest and provide adequate facilities.

When finally, handling a group of mildly irate residents became all too much for Mr Croad, he called Sussex police.

The Youtube video below by Pete Edgeler captures the atmosphere beautifully. Watch Mr Croad, (the Basil Faulty look-alike appearing at .50 in the video) demonstrate how not to  manage a public meeting.

I very doubt either Mr Croad or his colleague Mr Roberts would dare speak to representatives of Morrissons in the same way as he addressed this group of local residents.



Or how about Arun District Council’s treatment of Alan, Pier Road’s most eccentric resident? Here Arun District Council’s Planning Department have written to a local resident and amongst other things, demanded to know why he has a toy dog and a mannequin attached to his property. A property, which gives many many visitors and locals some joy and amusement.

Yet when it comes to Morrissons supermarket not complying with the conditions of their planning consents, what do Arun District Council do?




As always, thanks for reading.

Your comments welcome below.



Why aren’t the Environment Agency supporting UK steel industry

This week sees the sad and shock announcement that Redcar steel works in the North East of England has been put into liquidation threatening 2,200 jobs.

Given the enormous, ongoing massive investments in building new  flood defences, why is the Environment Agency continuing to source steel from abroad?

I’ve repeatedly put this question to the Environment Agency since 2013. My most recent request being in early August.

Thus far, no explanation.

I don’t think that’s good enough, do you?

Why are we buying steel from the Netherlands and beyond when we have steel plants here in the UK which are now facing closure owing to lack of sustainable orders?

Surely even if UK steel plants aren’t as competitive as elsewhere in the world, we should still support our home-grown industries – after all – what’s the likely cost of the lost of 2,200 jobs on the economy, let alone the costs of the loss of other ancillary businesses that will be undoubtedly be forced to close their doors also?

There may be a very good reason for why the Environment Agency doesn’t buy from UK steel plants.

But if so, why are they so reluctant to tell us?

The steel used to construct Littlehampton’s new flood defences was shipped from the suppliers in the Netherlands and the contract to build Littlehampton’s defences was awarded to the Dutch company, VolkerStevin.

It seems not only are the Environment Agency unwilling to support the struggling UK steel industry, but also continue to award highly lucrative construction contracts to companies outside of the UK.

Gareth Stace, Director of Trade Association of UK Steel  says they’re operating in an unsustainable situation. He says: “Chinese imports were 2pc of UK steel demand in the first half of 2011, that’s expected to be 8pc this year. Britain’s steel makers also face a strong pound, high energy costs, environmental levies and high business rates that foreign competitors don’t.”

So ironically, the UK’s steel industry is facing unfair and punitive environmental levies and extortionate business rates.

Why are UK industries having to pay punitive environmental tax levies, while their competitors don’t?

Why are we the UK tax payer funding the Environment Agencies extensive flood defence building schemes, when the steel and construction contracts are not being awarded to UK companies?

Surely we’re better off paying higher prices for steel sourced in the UK than paying the financial and social costs of massive job losses – particularly in area of the UK where jobs aren’t easy to find.

And as for the low carbon footprint nonsense

The Environment Agency made great play of the fact that they had insisted the steel for use in Littlehampton’s flood defences be transported by ship from the Netherlands as opposed to by road – thereby significantly reducing the project’s carbon foot print.

Walter HammannAbove steel arriving by ship from the Netherlands and being offloaded in River Road.

Once the steel arrived in Littlehampton harbour it was stored in Littlehamton Harbour Board’s storage area in River Road.

However, it’s here the Environment Agency’s low-carbon footprint plans fell apart.

In order to transport the steel from River Road to Pier Road (less than a mile) a road haulage company was appointed. Not a local based haulage company, but a London based company.

So for a over a year all the steel was transported from River Road to Pier Road – distance less than a mile – by a company who had to drive to and from London each time a batch of steel had to be moved.

A distance of over 112 miles driven for each occasion the steel had to be moved a distance of less than a mile.

Yet, Littlehampton is home to a number of quality transport companies.

How’s that for ensuring a ‘low carbon footprint.’?

Pretty much all hire vehicles/plant and machinery used for the construction of the flood defences came from Essex and beyond as the Environment Agency operate a ‘central procurement policy’ which means that they couldn’t source anything locally in Littlehampton as Littlehampton (and surrounding businesses) were not on the pre-agreed approved procurement list for contractors.

So even the most basic piece of plant machinery had to be transported relatively great distances by road in order to comply with the Environment Agency’s buying policy which is clearly at odds with the Environment Agency’s green credentials.

Our thoughts are with those facing loosing their jobs and a uncertain future at Redcar Steel works.



As always, your comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading!

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