West Sussex County Council proposing Littlehampton A259 improvements, consultation underway.

Good news for Littlehampton.

West Sussex County Council are proposing to improve the layout and traffic flow along the A259 between Littlehampton and Goring.

Regular users of this route, particularly those who commute along this road will be interested to know of the council’s proposed improvements, which include:

  • Creating a dual-carriageway in both directions
  • Increasing the size of approaches/exits to the roundabout at the Bodyshop Littlehampton
  • Closing the right turn into Oliver Acre
  • Creating a new and separate cycle track alongside the A259.

Estimated costs for the proposed improvements, will be in the region of £14.8 million with the works expected to be completed in 18months. Scheme complete by 2017.

Your views are now wanted by West Sussex County Council as part of their public consultation process.

To this extent – West Sussex County Council have now announced a number of drop-in events for residents of Arun to make their views known and, review the council’s plans.

These dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, January 23 (10am-1pm): Village Memorial Hall, Rustington Parish Council, 34 Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, BN16 3HB.
  • Tuesday, January 26 (10am-1pm): New Millennium Chamber, The Manor House, Littlehampton Town Council, Littlehampton, BN17 5EW.
  • Wednesday, January 27 (1-4pm): Village Memorial Hall, Rustington Parish Council, 34 Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, BN16 3HB.
  • Thursday, January 28 (5-8pm): King Suite, Angmering Village Hall, Station Road, Angmering, BN16 4HL.

Personally, I think it’s great news that the council have funds available to improve this road, which regular users will know can be an absolute nightmare during early morning and evening ‘rush hour’ periods.

Also great news that they’re proposing to create a separate off-road cycle route along this carriageway, which in my view, will create a safer environment for all road users and hopefully encourage more cycling commuting.

Whatever your views, you need to make them known now – Public consultation runs from Monday, 11th January and ends on Friday 19th February 2016.

You can read more about the proposals by at West Sussex County Council’s Website, here, where you can also make your views known.


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Comments are always welcome, please make any below.

 

End of the line for Littlehampton miniature railway?

Not good news, I’m afraid.

I understand that the operator of Littlehampton’s Miniature railways has pulled out of Littlehampton, sold his rolling stock and ceased his operation.

The miniature railway which has been a long standing and much loved feature of Littlehampton’s East Beach area, will no doubt be sorely missed. Loved by old and young, alike.

Running from the putting green cafe to Mewsbrook park, the train has been an established feature of Littlehampton life for many years now, albeit having changed ownership over the past few years.

I’m not sure of the reasons why the operated has pulled out, but I have seen correspondence that suggests a breakdown between the concession holder and Arun District Council.

In any event, it very much appears that the operator has now sold his train and rolling stock and that as they say, is the end of that.

October last year a feature appeared in the Littlehampton Gazette where the train operator’s staff were concerned at being made redundant by their employer. However, their employer (the owner of the train and Arun District Council concession holder) made it clear that making the redundant was necessary as they were seasonal employees.

A shame, a real shame.

Meanwhile, Arun District Council are planning to increase Littlehampton’s seafront car parking charges by over 200%.

If the plans go ahead, the current charge (during July and August) will go from £6 for 2 hours plus to a whopping great £10.

And, your tenner will buy you a space as pictured below.

Arun District Counci Car parking

Would you be happy paying £10 to park in the above for £10?

My understanding from reading through Arun District Council’s proposed car parking increases is that the council have no plans to improve the already unacceptable car park conditions in Littlehampton seafront or to upgrade Littlehampton’s seafront toilets.

It’s amazing that given Arun District Council oversaw a £22.5m seafront regeneration scheme, that neither the existing public toilets or the public car park were deemed as being in need of regeneration.

You can see Arun District Council’s proposed car parking charges increase on Arun’s website here.

Tourism is a competitive business and my view is Arun District Council are in danger of pricing us out of the market. We also desperately need for Arun District Council to work at attracting and retaining concession holders and create modern, practical, usable seafront facilities.


As always, thanks for reading, comments welcome.

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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.

REPLY FROM SOUTHERN WATER

Emergency work in Pier Road, Littlehampton
19/10/2015

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.

ENDS.

PIER ROAD FURTHER OBSERVATION

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.

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

 

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?

 

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As always, thanks for reading.

Your comments welcome below.

 

 

Littlehampton’s Flood Defence completion celebrations cancelled owing to Flooding fears!

You couldn’t make this sort of stuff up.

The Environment Agency and Arun District Council have now officially cancelled their planned celebrations, which were due to take place to celebrate the completion of Littlehampton’s Flood Defence Scheme.

The reason?

Flood risk – as a result of the Environment Agency leaving a great big gap in Littlehampton’s new flood defences.

In correspondence seen by the Pier Road Diaries (received anonymously), Sir Phillip Dilley, Chairman of the Environment Agency and Councillor Andy Cooper Chairman of Arun District Council were due to preside at a completion ceremony in Arun District Council’s Civic Centre on Monday, 28th September 2015.

Invited guests were promised a presentation on Littlehampton’s Flood Defence scheme by James A Humphrys, Area Manager for Environment Agency, South Downs and Solent and his colleagues from the Environment Agency on the scheme followed by a buffet lunch ending off the day with a tour of Littlehampton’s Flood Defence scheme.

In what can only be described as an embarrassing cock-up  for both the Environment Agency and their partners at Arun District Council, both parties have now cancelled the celebratory event owing to fears that Littlehampton’s River Road may flood. And River Road is acutely at risk during the period the period 29th – 30th September 2015 when exceptionally high tides are predicted.

This would be the day after the big wigs and their invited guests had munched their way through a finger buffet provided at the expense of the tax payer while listening to self-congratulatory speeches on how marvelously they’ve all performed.

In his cancellation letter to his invited guests, James A Humphrys explains that the Environment Agency are predicting exceptionally high tides (as part of a 17 year cycle) during the period – 29th to 30th September. These high tides are caused by atmospheric low pressure and could, Mr Humphrey’s warns that owing to a gap in their flood defences, there may be localised flooding in River Road.

He offers reassurance in his letter advising that contingency plans are now in place, which may include the closing of part of Littlehampton’s River Road and the erection of temporary flood defences.

Regrettably, under such circumstances, Mr Humphrys advises that they’ve had no alternative but to cancel their celebrations.

So while the big-wigs lament the loss of another tax-payer funded free round of sarnies and vol-au-vonts, the bigger question remains is how has the Environment Agency spent £22.5m on building flood defences that now clearly are unfit-for-purpose?

Littlehampton Flood Defence SchemeAbove: The gap in the flood defences left during the building and completion of Littlehampton’s new Flood Defence Scheme. Hard to believe the Environment Agency could have left without addressing this gaping gap.

Littlehampton Flood Defence SchemeThe gap can be seen in the above picture nestled between two residential developments.

To the right of the gap you can see the original flood defences being rebuilt by the Environment Agency’s contractors. While the new buildings on the left have had their own flood defences built and strengthened by the property developer.

Littlehampton Flood DefencesAbove: Environment Agency contractors working on rebuilding the flood defences in this area, but specifically left a gap in the new flood defence wall.

Littlehampton Flood Defence SchemeHard to imagine how a decision was arrived by the Environment Agency to leave this exposed section unaddressed. It is this gap, which has led to their celebrations having to be cancelled.

Littlehampton Flood defencesA terrific new stretch of flood defence was completed by the Environment Agency to the right next to the gap.

The Environment Agency have previously been criticised for leaving this area so vulnerable and exposed. The Littlehampton Gazette covered local business owner and resident Mr Boyce’s concerns in a feature published on 23rd February 2015 entitled:  “Littlehampton Flood Defences has a gaping hole in it”.

Mr Humphrys concludes  his letter by saying it would be ‘inappropriate in a celebration event in Littlehampton in these circumstances.’ But he does say they’re proud of their achievements and they’re working towards a long term solution for River road.

Little comfort for Littlehampton’s River Road residents who now face potential road closures and are at risk of flooding, ironically as a result of lack of flood protection, despite the EA spending over £22.5m on building state-of-the-art flood defences.

In my view, it’s entirely unacceptable that given that the Environment Agency and their partners, Arun District Council have jointly spent in excess of £22.5m (original budget set at £14.5m) they have failed in their primary objective to prevent flooding in Littlehampton and we now must resort to relying on emergency temporary flood prevention measures (aka sand bags) and road closures. Were the Environment Agency and Arun District Council subject to the same intense scrutiny such as education and health establishments are, both organisations would be deemed unfit for purpose and placed in special measures.

I wonder when the Environment Agency and Arun District Council will get around to forewarning the residents and business owners of Littlehampton’s River Road and West Beach residents at Ropewalk?

The predicted exceptionally high tides, which are posing this flood risk are due to take place on 29th – 30th September 2015.

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As always, your comments are welcome which you can add below.