Littlehampton’s Action Boat will not be running this Season.

Sad news – No Action Boat for this coming Season.

Action Boat

Earlier this week I caught up with the guys behind Littlehampton’s popular white-knuckle powerboat rides –  Action Boat  They confirm that owing to the Sea Defence works they won’t be able to run their popular rides this season.

Apparently the problems with access to and from the boat are just too great now that Action Boat’s berthing pontoon has been removed while the sea defence works are underway. They are hopeful that they’ll be back again in action in 2015. But this is a big blow for Littlehampton as this was one of our newest and most popular waterside attractions.

And it’s not just Action Boats that will be affected by lack of pontoon space.

One of the biggest problems facing Littlehampton Harbour this year will be the lack of visitor berthing space for visiting boats.

Littlehampton harbour 8

Last year we enjoyed  a bumper season with visiting yachts many of them arriving as part of ‘Rallies’.

These boats and rallies bring a very welcomed spend to our local businesses – restaurants, shops and bars doing exceptionally well. Each year my own bike shop in Pier Road does well with cycle hire with visiting mariners and we also manage to sell a number of bikes to them.

But with the restricted pontoon space, it’s difficult to see how they’ll all fit in.

And, sadly  the future of the Littlehampton Ferry also looks to be in doubt.

Littlehampton Ferry

Latest update I can get on the Littlehampton Ferry is that the boat is up for sale and the previous operator (Action Boats) has confirmed it won’t be running the ferry as part of their operation.

Again even if a buyer is found it’s difficult to see where a suitable embarking and landing pontoon would be found as the original pontoon has now been removed as has the steps leading to it.

No doubt it’s going to be a difficult season for us as we’ve lost these two very popular attractions.

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Spectacular behind the scenes pictures from the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences

A huge thank-you to Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency for providing these superb behind-the-scenes pictures. A number of them have been taken from a basket hanging from one of the cranes.

(Click on the pictures to super-size them)

Littlehampton Sea DefencesA bird’s-eye view of Littlehampton’s East Bank Flood Defences Scheme under construction.

Construction of Littlehampton's Sea DefencesAmazing view of the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour, Littlehampton’s iconic Lighthouse and the boardwalk loved by so many.

Aran Parade 5

The area behind the piling at Littlehampton’s Arun Parade all ready for backfilling and them a cap will be built on top raising the level of the sea defences.

Arun ParadeThe area being backfilled.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant especially created Crane Bridge/Platform which will carry the 136tonne crane along Pier Road while it undertakes the piling works. One side of this giant bridge will sit on Pier Road with the other sitting on the recently installed piles. It will work it’s way along Pier Road North with the crane sitting on top. Quite a sight when it’s up and running,which we hope will be tomorrow (Tuesday, 25th February 2014).

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant crane’s plaform which sits on wooden sleepers.

constucting Littlehampton's sea defencesThe Piling hammer which drives the piles into the river bed.

Thanks again to Andrew from the Environment Agency and to VolkerStevin for allowing me to use these pictures on the Pier Road Diaries. As always, thanks to Eric Smethurst,Volker Stevin’s public liaison manager for providing us and all the visitors to the scheme with updates and explanations and for answering my endless questions and the construction staff not minding my poking my camera at them.

Remember to sign up for regular blog updates by entering your email address in the top right hand corner of this page.

And if you’re on twitter, follow Pier Road Diares on Twitter – @Pier_Road

Make sure you visit Littlehampton Seafront to see history being made. This is once-in-a-lifetime event and we’re now entering the most exciting part of the scheme’s construction.

As always, thanks for reading and following.

The Pier Road Diaries is now getting over 5,000 visitors a month and our mailing list is growing daily. If you’re planning a Littlehampton event, please do let us know – email us at pierroad@live.com and we’ll update your event’s details to the ‘What’s on Section’ of the blog, which we’re currently working on.

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Latest pictures of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences & last week’s dramatic RNLI Rescue

Some pictures of the ongoing construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences.

I took these pictures end of January/first week of February, 2014.

Construction of Littlehampton's sea defences 3The piles are lifted in place using one of two cranes, which are currently in operation in Arun Parade, Littlehampton.

Piling gateThe piles are loaded into a ‘piling gate’ which has been especially designed and constructed for the project. (Picture courtesy of Eric Smethurst  – VolkerStevin)

Construction of Littlehampton's sea defencesEach piles is marked out in metres markers – I believe each pile is 22 metres long.

Construction of Littlehampton's sea defences 4Each pile is then driven into the riverbed by a combination of vibrating it down and then finally banging it into place. The noise you can hear regularly in Littlehampton is the piles being driven into their final positions by the above machine.

Sea Defence construction Arun Parade 8Pile being driven home.

Sea Defence construction Arun Parade 9This picture gives a better view of the piling gate, which also creates a working platform.

Sea defences in Arun Parade LittlehamptonThis is what they look like when they’re all finally in place. The above is a picture of how Arun Parade is looking like now. Some observers has expressed concern that the new sea defences don’t go high enough. When I catch up with Eric next, I’ll ask him for an answer from an engineering perspective. Appearances can be deceptive.

Construction of Littlehampton's sea defences 6This is how Littlehampton’s Arun Parade is shaping up now.

LittlehamptonWorking on the junction of Arun Parade and Pier Road

Construction of Littlehampton Sea Defences 7The piles all in place along the Southern end of Arun Parade.

Sea Defence construction Arun Parade 11Piling at Arun Parade.

Piling works at Arun ParadePiles being driven in at Arun Parade (Littlehampton seafront’s iconic light house in the right of the picture)

littlehampton sea defence construction craneClearly the road surface of Pier Road is not able to take the weight of the crane, which is of particular concern to us here in Pier Road. The vibrations from the piling far exceed what most of us expected. There’s also understandable concern for the integrity of our buildings during these works. Many of Pier Road business owners live above their businesses.

Entrance to Littlehampton harbourTide flowing into Littlehampton harbour. A confused and dangerous sea. This picture was taken just a short time before a lady was swept out to sea. Despite being rescued by Littlehampton RNLI, she passed away later in hospital.

Coastguard helicopterThe Coastguard helicopter flying over Littlehampton Harbour assisting with the rescue.

Air AmbulanceAir Ambulance also attended.

Air Ambulance 2Air Ambulance leaving Littlehampton.

cropped-dscf0234.jpgLittlehampton’s RNLI rescued the lady from the sea, quite literally a few minutes after she first went in. (above is a picture of them on a previous emergency call out). We’re very fortunate here in Littlehampton to have such a dedicated, hardworking local volunteer crew who go out in all weathers and sea conditions.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who passed away.

Amazing ‘behind the scenes’ pictures of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences.

A huge thanks to Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Scheme Liaison Manager for providing us with these amazing behind the scenes pictures of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences.

Sit back, and enjoy the amazing views… (taken from the bucket of the Crane!)

Don’t forget to click on the pictures to see them full size.

Littlehampton Sea Defences

Littlehampton Sea DefencesLittlehampton

Littlehampton harbourLittlehampon sea defencesLittlehampton Sea DefencesEnvironment Agency Flood DefencesLittlehampton flood defencesLittlehampton HarbourLittlehamton sea defence constructionPiling GatePiling Gate pictured above and below

Piling gate

Littlehampton HarbourThanks again to Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin and Andrew Walker, Environment Agency for kindly providing and allowing us to publish these pictures on the blog.

Eric Smethurst Volker Stevin ManagerEric Smethurst (pictured above) who kindly provided these pictures is the Project Team’s Scheme’s Liaison Manager and can be found in the Visitor Information Centre situated just above the Oyster Pond Boating Lake. If you have any ‘how-to’ questions regarding the construction of the scheme, Eric’s your man. A wealth of knowledge and a veteran of sea defence construction projects.

I have been advised by the Environment Agency that will be providing an update regarding the progress of the scheme early next week, which I’ll publish once available.

Littlehampton Sea Defences, latest update; crane has a new engine and we’re back on track..

After a disappointing and frustrating start for everyone, the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences are now back on track now that the £1.3m crane has been fitted with its new engine.

At a meeting earlier this week, Andy Hills, VolkerStevin’s Site manager talked to traders and explained that while it was frustrating for everyone that the scheme had fallen now three weeks behind schedule, he was hopeful that they would catch up. ‘Now that the crane has been repaired,’ he said, ‘we can really move ahead and start on the piling works.’

While answering questions in relation to why there was only one crane and one crew operating as opposed to the two cranes and two crews as per the original plan (one for Pier Road and a separate one for Arun Parade), Andy explained that owing to the narrow working space they couldn’t bring the second crane in to be assembled while they needed space to fit a replacement engine to the original crane. ‘It’s frustrating,’ he said. ‘But we’re there now as the replacement engine was flown especially in from Austria and arrived in only two days.’

As Arun District Council’s Environment Agency granted VolkerStevin temporary dispensation to work this weekend on ‘light works’ (ie, those which don’t cause any potential noise nuisance) work began in earnest yesterday, Saturday morning to fit the first of the steel works as pictured below.

Littlehampton Sea Defences first steels being installedA historic moment in the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences. The picture above shows the first installation of Steel into the original sea wall. The green and red colours in the background are the Noise Reduction Panels that are attached to the Haras fencing where the work is taking place.

Littlehampton sea defences Arun ParadeAndy Hill’s explained that a second crane will be arriving early this coming week (week commencing 2nd December 2013) and this crane will be working in Pier Road, thus returning to the original plan – 2 cranes operating at the same time with 2 crews.Andy explained that the piling should begin all being well this week.

I bumped into Andy a number of times yesterday,( Saturday) and he was clearly delighted  that Arun District Council have granted a temporary works order to allow them work during this weekend on what Andy described as ‘light work’, which wouldn’t involve any heavy duty piling or anything that would cause any excess noise. Andy’s enthusiasm for this project is infectious and I felt like leaving my shop, grabbing a shovel and coming out and helping him…

Later in the evening, I found him still walking around in high-viz jacket, still working…

Also this week, I finally got a chance to catch up with Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison Manager and visit his recently opened Information Centre.

Eric Smethurst VolkerStevinI popped in on Eric when he was in full flight giving a talk to a couple of local residents who had visited his Drop In Information Centre, which is located just above the Oyster Pond and just below Riverside Fish Kiosk.

You can’t help but be moved by Eric’s enthusiasm and his infectious laughter. A veteran of these schemes, Eric has worked on a number of successful sea defence schemes constructed by VolkerStevin on behalf of the Environment Agency, and it shows. His easy manner, his knowledge and particularly his ability to explain complex engineering to the lay person is admirable, to say the least.

When the visitors left,  Eric explained his role in a greater detail.

“I’m primarily here,’ he said ‘to ensure that the public and local business owners have a dedicated point of contact. Someone who they can ask questions of, and help solving any logistical problems they might be having.”

He’s certainly achieving his goals as I know all of the business owners in Pier Road have found Eric not only to be extremely helpful in their dealing with him, but also enjoy his presence. Eric is a big man in every respect. Taller than most, widely travelled. Eric spent over 20 years living and breathing engineering  projects in America.

‘So where are you from originally?’ I ask as if it’s not obvious.

‘Durham,’ Eric says. But obviously I’ve spent a lot of time in the States.

‘So what can the public expect if they pop in and see you?’

‘Well, ‘ Eric says, ‘they can ask any questions they might have and also see plans of the build and as well as visuals of how the scheme will look post construction. I’m also going to have a slide projection shows, and we’ll have a real-life example of the actual sheet piles being used in the build.’

Eric Smethurst Volkerstevin manager 2Eric demonstrating how the piling will work.

‘Are you just based here?’ I ask.

‘Gosh, no,’ Eric says. ‘No, once we’re into the project I’ll be visiting the local schools and giving talks to the local school children on what’s happening in their town and how the build will create a better future for them. It’s great fun,” he says. “You’d be surprised at how environmentally-aware school children are. When we were working in Glasgow, we had to cut down a whole row of trees to build the new wall. When I visited the schools, I’d have hundreds of young children staring accusingly at me  all demanding to know why we’d cut down their trees..’

“But you turned them around?”

Eric pauses for a moment, ‘They might be young, but they’re not stupid they can understand anything once you take the time to explain it to them. Once they understood why the trees had to go we worked with them to come up with a planting scheme for replacement trees and it really was great fun.

Eric Smethurst Volker Stevin ManagerEric Smethurst, Public Liaison Manager, VolkerStevin welcoming visitors to the Environment Agency Scheme’s Drop in Information Centre located just in front of the Oyster Pond.

Eric’s Drop in Centre is open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – 8am to 4pm. All are very welcome.

Littlehampton Sea Defences artists impression post worksJust one of a number of artists impressions of how the finished scheme will look that you can see in Eric’s Drop in Centre.

Remember, to keep abreast of all that’s going on in Pier Road – please follow Pier Road on twitter @Pier_road  and to get regular blog updates from the Diaries, just enter your email address in the top right side of this page to subscribe to the Diaries.

Coming shortly, I catch up on a local regeneration scheme in River Road – one that had it’s fair share of controversy at the planning stage, but is now nearing completion.

As always, thanks for reading.

Paul