Highways England announce details of A27 Arundel Bypass

Highways England have today, Friday 11th May 2018 announced details of the final route the new Arundel Bypass will be taking, which is Option 5A.

Full details of the final route and background information can be viewed by the via link below:

A27 Arundel Bypass Route

As always, your thoughts/views welcome.

Littlehampton Coastguard Tower fails to sell at Auction.

Littlehampton Coastguard Tower fails to sell at Savills Auctions on 9th May 2018.

The tower which was sold previously by Arun District Council has fallen into considerable disrepair under private ownership, which is a real shame.

Prior to it being sold, I had offered Arun District Council an attractive business proposition –  I would lease the tower from the council, thus generating revenue for what was an unused building and turn into a ‘News & Views’ seafront shop. I also planned open the tower to the public as a viewing tower.

My offer was rejected. I was told there was no way that Arun’s councillors would agree and approve my plans as it would potentially impact on an existing, long-established seafront business.

The tower was then sold at auction and has since remained in private ownership since with little or no visible maintenance or upkeep until it being advertised for auction on 9th May 2018 where it was auctioned again, but failed to find a buyer.

Littlehampton’s Coastguard Tower has planning permission to convert it into holiday accommodation. It is available at £95,000 for any interested parties via Savills Auctions.

Gangs are not running riot in Littlehampton

The Littlehampton Gazette’s headline – “Police are not running this town – gangs are” is complete rubbish and nothing more than scaremongering.

Negative headlines sell newspapers and let’s be brutally honest here, the Littlehampton Gazette needs all the help it can to sell what is little more than a weekly advertorial rather than a readable, quality newspaper. The Press Gazette latest circulation figures for the Littlehampton Gazette, shows sales plummeting by  -7.9% on the previous year with circulation now at a paltry 8,988. Drastic times lead to desperate measures with the closure of the Gazette’s Littlehampton offices and a culling of the paper’s reporters.

The Gazette reporter who wrote this story doesn’t live in Littlehampton and could hardly be considered to know what’s really is going on here. Last week he attended the annual Littlehampton Town Council public meeting. I’ve mixed views on the benefits of this type of public meeting as invariably it’s little more than an opportunity for the public to vent at the local authorities, particularly the police.

When a number of years ago I attended the annual town council meeting, I came away wondering what the point of Littlehampton town council is, and indeed, still do. The meeting was dominated by a few vocal locals who complained about cycling on pavements and lack of police action in tackling this supposedly huge and dangerous problem. I left the meeting thinking if all you have to worry about is kids cycling on pavements, how lucky we are to have none of the real crime problems that plague other areas.

In any event, this year’s annual meeting led to one local business owner describing how 12 and 13-year-olds had run through his cafe and threw eggs and he’d witnessed drug dealing outside his business. He concluded by telling the police chief inspector present at the meeting, that in his view  ‘the police are not running this town, but gangs are.’

Cue Littlehampton Gazette, who used this quote as their paper’s front page screaming headline.

While I have sympathy with the business owner’s frustrations and do agree that Littlehampton currently has a small number of youths who are acting in a threatening and anti-social way, we’re still a  long way from the sort of youth gang culture that is destroying other local towns and particularly evident in areas of London.

Personally, I think it’s highly irresponsible of the Littlehampton Gazette to lead with such a negative, scaremongering headline, which I know has already put people off visiting the town centre.

We need to keep things in perspective.

Littlehampton needs a return to high visible proactive policing, which contrary to claims made by Police Commissioner Ms Katy Bourne and Sussex Police’s Chief Constable Giles York who describe bobbies on the beat as being an outdated policing method, bobbies on the beat do work.

The public is always reassured by high visible policing on our streets, which prevents anti-social behaviour. No app or twitter feed or social media platform can take away the important work done by bobbies on the beat.

But please, let’s not elevate these gobby little idiots to the undeserved status of gang leaders. Most of them would wet their nappies if someone were to shout back at them, as I’ve done on occasions when they have created a nuisance in and outside my shop.

 

Whatever the Gazette would like you to believe, Littlehampton remains a safe, welcoming town with the many hard-working, proud people who make our area such a great place to live.

Nothing better proves my point more than a picture of Littlehampton’s War Memorial above, which is lovingly attended to by the council’s contractors and demonstrates all this positive and wonderful about Littlehampton. Surely if gangs were ruling our town this amazing floral display would be impossible?

While we  need to keep pressure on local police management to ensure we get the support from our police and local authorities to ensure that  good and hard work of many is not undermined and destroyed by the few, lets not fall victim to the lousy scaremongering tactics of a newspaper who cut and ran from Littlehampton when their sales declined.


As always, thanks for reading, comments are welcome and don’t forget to subscribe to the Pier Road Diaries by signing up on the top right-hand side of this page.

West Sussex County Council boss accused of wasting tax payer’s money.

West Sussex County Council Chief Executive accused of wasting money by his own staff.

As residents and motorists fall foul of West Sussex Council’s (WSCC) appalling road conditions and are facing cuts to essential services including the fire service, WSCC chief executive has been criticised by a member of his own staff member for wasting money.

Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Elvery who enjoys a near £200,000 a year salary plus has introduced new lanyards for all West Sussex County Council staff at a cost of £3,288 to the suffering tax payer.

The new lanyards are printed with the council’s core values, which oddly doesn’t include any reference to West Sussex County Council. A female member of WSCC staff has questioned the usefulness of the new lanyards on the council’s internal discussion board writing: “Are customers supposed to guess that I work for WSCC as my lanyard doesn’t say I do? There are of course advantages to having the promises written down. It seems a great opportunity to have people stare at my chest, always a pleasure for me and also it does make me feel genuinely valued.”

The library assistant concludes she is: “thrilled to know that the finances at WSCC are now so improved that we can stretch to buying these for all staff, a great use of resources.”

WSCC’s Core Values are published on the council’s website as follows:

We have five core values, which are central to successfully achieving our vision and corporate plan priorities:

  • Proud to be customer-centred – we put the customer central to everything we do.

  • Listen and act upon – we listen to each other and act on what we say.

  • Honest and realistic – we are honest and realistic about what we can achieve.

  • Trust and support – we trust and support each other to achieve our goals.

  • Genuinely valued – we feel our contribution is valued and our achievements are recognised.


Clearly, under the council’s own Core Values, this member of staff’s comments on an internal council message board is in keeping with the above core values. She’s been honest in her opinions and her contribution should be valued and listened to. However, Nathan Elvery replies with all guns blazing accusing her of being ‘passive aggressive’ and being representative of what he describes as the ‘ugly under belly’ of the council’s organisational culture

In his reply to her on the same message board, he says: “The journey to changing our organisation has started and whilst I recognise for some this might present some individual challenges, this is a journey we will complete as an organisation. Many of our staff have embraced this change, I recognise some of our staff still require convincing and I recognise for some that this may not be a journey they want to be part of and therefore will not be with us at the end, but it is nonetheless this journey we will complete.”

Nathan Elvery’s reply leaves a lot to be desired. This bullying and belittling approach isn’t in keeping with the seniority of his role and can’t be helpful in motivating an already under-resourced staff.

He goes on to say:  “Thank you for reminding me how far we still have to go in tackling the ugly underbelly of our organisational culture. This ‘passive aggressive’ nature of our current culture has the potential to blind our organisation from the reality we face, the changes which must come about if our organisation is to be successful and indeed survive the challenges which local government faces today and embrace the opportunities which are evident for us to improve as one organisation.”

If anyone is demonstrating passive aggressiveness and ugliness in this bizarre exchange it’s Mr Elvery. Surely council staff don’t need to hang the council’s 5 core values around their neck where they rest precariously in between ladies breasts, or swing like car air fresheners in an airport taxi – to be aware of the council’s values?

And we the public don’t need to see nearly £4,000 of our hard earned taxes spent on what is nothing more than a useless PR exercise?

Come to think to of, why does WSCC need to pay their Mr Elvery £190,000 a year to come up with this nonsense.

Surely both Mr Elvery’s salary and his £4k lanyards would be better spent on addressing the appalling state of the council’s potholed roads?

As always, thank you for reading, your comments welcome below.

 

Littlehampton Anchor Springs gets a makeover.

First of all apologies for the lack of posts on the Pier Road blog. Regular visitors to our bike shop in Pier Road will know we’re currently in the midst of moving our business from Pier Road into Anchor Springs, Duke Street Littlehampton.

We’re leasing the premises that was previously occupied by Kim’s the Barbers who has now retired.

The last few weeks and indeed months have been busy and difficult for us. Trying to find a suitable property to move our shop into hasn’t been easy. Quite honestly I am shocked by the attitude of some Littlehampton Landlords who refused to accept our business on the basis that we’d bring unfair competition to Littlehampton’s only cycle shop.

Thankfully our new landlords are more forward thinking and we’re delighted to have signed a relatively long lease on the shop in Anchor Springs which will secure our business – The Dutch Bike Shop & Coastal Cycles for hopefully many years to come.

Thanks to all of you who’ve popped in saying how much they enjoy reading this blog and the posts on the Pier Road twitter feed.

Initially my thoughts were that I wouldn’t continue with the blog as I’m leaving Pier Road however I’ve decided to continue with it but future posts will concentrate more on what’s happening in Littlehampton town centre area and looking at the many challenges facing independent retailers/business owners.

Anchor Springs Wall gets painted.

For many years I’ve been surprised at the appalling state of the UK Power Network’s perimeter wall in Anchor Springs. It’s depressing and no doubt adds to an overall feeling of  degeneration.

As the view from my new shop looks directly onto this wall I contacted UK Power Networks to ask them to repaint it. They refused. A polite refusal where they told me that their policy was only to ‘secure’ there properties, how they appeared weren’t really of concern to them.

I find this shocking and unacceptable more especially as UK Power Networks earn over £1.4billion annually in the UK.

So I asked them if I could paint their wall for them, which they agreed. However, I decided to have one last bash at them and I wrote to Basil Scarsella, CEO UK Power Networks advising him that I felt it unfair that I as the owner of a small cycle shop should have to paint the wall of his billion pound business.

I also ask Mr Scarsella how he could justify UK Power Networks policy of not worrying about the appearance of their buildings, provided their ‘safe and secure’.

To be fair to Basil Scarsella, he replied to my email within 15 minutes and one of his management team agreed that the wall would be repainted as soon as possible. He also apologized for the way the property looked.

Good on him and hopefully we can see some brightness from his end!

I’m delighted to say that the wall has now been repainted and I’m now going to work on the council (not sure which one yet who owns the ‘foliage’) to improve the planting here and create a more uplifting experience.

If they refuse, I’ll do it myself.

I’ve got to say, that I cannot understand why anyone from either Littlehampton Town Council or Arun District Council’s Regeneration team haven’t insisted UK Power Networks improved the presentation of their Littlehampton site.

Regular readers of this blog will recall how Arun District Council threatened Pier Road’s most eccentric resident Alan with enforcement action over his property. If you missed it – you can read it here.

UK Power Networks Littlehampton site gets repainted.

What’s happening with our old shop buildings?

I’ve no idea other than to say that the Property Development company who purchased it from our original landlords have now sold it onto a London based Investment Bank.

The property is in dire need of either a substantive makeover or being knocked to the ground and rebuilt. Either way, the condition of the property and the new conditions imposed by the landlords, were unacceptable to us and it was time to go.

No doubt at some point in the future the site will be redeveloped as housing – which in some ways I think would be good for Pier Road provided a commercial premises was retained on the ground floor.

In any event, something urgently needs to be done to it and I think we were right in saying we’d had enough of babysitting it for speculative property developers who showed no loyalty or consideration for our business needs. Not to mention the fact that our landlords wanted to near double our rent and make us responsible for maintaining their dilapidated buildings.

I’ve been unable to tell them personally to screw themselves, as they hide a commercial agent. But if by chance they do stumble upon this page…..

Our new shop opens for business on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 and we really look forward to seeing you there.

Remember there’s free 2 hour parking (courtesy of Littlehampton Traders Partnership) in either of the two public car parks which are adjacent to Anchor Springs. You can also park free of charge all day in what was the old Waitrose Car Park.

Hopefully something will happen with the old Waitrose building soon and the area can get a much-needed boost. It was a real shame that Waitrose left Littlehampton.

I hope to write more regularly on Pier Road now we’re almost there with the move, so please do sign up for regular posts, if you haven’t done so already. You’ll find the sign up box on the top right hand side of this page.

With best wishes,

Paul.


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