Argos to open in Sainbury’s Rustington

Argos have announced they will be opening an Argos store in Sainsbury’s Rustington.

This is all part of a new joint retail initiative  where Sainsbury’s offer stand-alone retail concessions in its larger stores.

Argos Director of retail and customer operations Steve Carson said:

Working with Sainbury’s will help us bring the convenience of the Argos offer to customers. This is the first time we have had stores in these locations.”

Sainbury’s revamped and expanded store has been the subject of  criticism locally for its sheer size. Arun District Council granted the retail giant planning permission to extend it’s moderate Rustington store into a super size store attracting criticism from local residents who found themselves overshadowed by the new building.

With a new retail park currently under construction just a few metres from Sainbury’s Rustington store and with Marks and Spencer and Next cited as being potential tenants, it’s hard to see how Rustington village and nearby Littlehampton town will remain unaffected.

While major retailers such as Argos, Next and Marks and Spencer should be welcomed to the area, by locating themselves outside of the Littlehampton and Rustington town centres will do little to encourage locals to support these town centres if their retailing offering isn’t attractive.

Meanwhile, Waitrose who are leaving Littlehampton at the end of June, for what they believe to be the more affluent suburbs of Rustington, have already announced their plans to open a large restaurant and garden centre in and outside their new Rustington store.

In my view, not good news for existing cafe businesses in Rustington as Waitrose like to give their coffee away free as a sweetener to encourage a higher footfall.

When Waitrose opened in Littlehampton, a florist and a cafe closed their doors. Now with their departure we’re left with a large vacant retail space, another blow in Littlehampton’s high street’s fortunes.

Clearly Arun District Council’s policy of granting supermarkets planning permission for building shops the sizes of retail parks in exchange for large S106 monies, is now coming home to bite us all.

It’s easy to see why retail parks will always be more popular than high street shopping. Parking is free and easy, stores are located side-by-side and even in the rain, consumers eager to part with their cash don’t have far to walk. And, a real boon is that you don’t get accosted by aggressive ‘charity fund-raiser’s’, town centre drunks and council traffic wardens.

Sainsbury’s Rustington store includes a clever design where you park underneath the store in a giant car park and regardless of weather you remain dry.

It’s easy to see why consumers desert the high street for out-of-town retail parks, but it’s difficult to see how town centres can win them back.

Argos have also announced that they will be opening another store in Sainsbury’s in Bognor Regis.

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

 

 

 

Morrissons Littlehampton town shop closing

In another blow to Littlehampton’s town centre retailing, troubled high street retailer Morissons are closing their town centre store.

‘To Let’ boards have now gone up on the front of the property and when I spoke to the agents they said the Littlehampton branch was due to close on 31st May 2015.

It’s unclear what will happen to the store’s employees. Hopefully, they can be relocated to Morrisons large superstore located in Wick, Littlehampton.

Morrissons Littlehampton town centre shop, which was opened in October 2013 by then Mayor Joyce Bower is being closed as part of a major restructuring following the company’s losses which have now soared to over £800m and has seen a boardroom cull like no other.

One of the main objectors when Morrissons applied for planning permission to build their Wick superstore was Waitrose, which ironically has also announced it will be closing its Littlehampton store and moving to Rustington.

It’s not clear if any other retailer has an interest in the old Waitrose building, but rumour has it that Aldi may be a possibility.

In any event, Arun District Council’s previous over-reliance on granting planning permissions to as many supermarkets as possible to build new stores the size of small towns, has finally come home to roost. Having all but wiped out the small independents,  they’re not turning on each other.

Ultimately, there can be no long term winners in these supermarket wars.

At the time of Morrissons Wick superstore application being made Arun District Council officers concluded in their report that “‘there is no clear evidence that the proposal will lead to significant adverse impacts on Wick or Littlehampton town centre.”

Waitrose objected to Arun granting planning permission to Morrissons.

Waitrose are now leaving the town.

So are Morrissons.

Littlehampton town centre can ill-afford to loose high profile, quality retailers – especially Waitrose.

To rent Morrisson’s soon to be vacant Littlehampton store, it will cost you £29,000 a year and you’ll have to pay £14,000 in business rates to Arun District Council. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining and insuring the building and you’ll face regular ‘upward only’ rent reviews.

We don’t need Mary Portas to tell us why our high streets are stuffed.

As always, thanks for reading.

Your comments are welcome.

You can also follow @pier_road on twitter for brief updates on what’s going on.

Thanks,

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

Arun District Council serve legal notices on Alan, Pier Road Resident

Pier Road’s most eccentric resident has come under attack from the bureaucrats at Arun District Council.

Ms Samantha Allen, Planning Compliance & Monitoring Investigator has written to Alan advising him that his eccentric, colourful home in Pier Road is adversely affecting the neighbourhood.

She further states that Alan’s colourful property in Pier Road may encourage ‘anti-social behaviour.’

Quirky Houses

 

And it’s not just the condition of Alan’s property that has encouraged the wrath of Ms Allen’s bureaucratic pen, she also demands to know why Alan has a toy Dalmatian and Mannequin on display at his property.

“I would ask that you provide an explanation for the unusual items on display i.e. the toy Dalmatian dog hanging out of a first floor window and the mannequin in the top floor window.”

“I should advise you that failure to comply with this request will leave the council to consider action pursuant to Sections 215-219 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

Samantha Allen,

Arun District Council

In her letter dated 24th March 2015, Ms Allen highlights the fact that Pier Road has had new footpaths outside the shops and properties, resurfacing to the road that ‘matches the colour of the new boardwalk’ and basically says – Alan’s property no longer fits in with the new, regenerated Pier Road.

Double standards, of course.

The pavement that Ms Allen refers to in her letter has been completed to such a poor standard that West Sussex County Council Highways have served legal notices on their contractors to remedy their poor work. In fact,one of the reasons why I still cannot re-carpet  my shop, and paint the outside is that we’re still waiting for the Council’s contractors to re-do the substandard work on the pavements outside our doors.

A fact, which has been completely overlooked by Ms Allen.

Neither has the Environment Agency completed their promised ‘post works condition survey works’ for properties in Pier Road affected by the flood defence works. The whole thing has turned into such a bureaucratic saga that I’ve told the Environment Agency that we’ll get on with our improvements without further delay.

Alan and his neighbours have complained about cracks in their walls, which they attribute to the flood defence works, yet they’ve been mostly ignored by the authorities, apart from Ms Allen’s letter.

Readers of my blog and those who follow @pier_road twitter feed will know of the battles I’ve had to get Arun District Council to undertake regular and competent cleaning of Pier Road and the seafront area.

Not to mention the blindingly obvious fact that Arun District Council have an appalling track record maintaining our local features.

Littehampton’s Oyster Pond is a good example of Arun’s ‘Cash and Grab’ philosophy.

Littlehampton Oyster PondIf you don’t know the feature – the Oyster Pond is one of Littlehampton’s oldest features, if not thee oldest. Build in the 1870s as storage area for seafood, hence the name – Oyster Pond. It was used to save boats the long sail up to Arundel, which was the main market town for the area. The Victorians then used it as a boating lake and even had an annual swimming gala there. The Pond itself is a marvel of engineering – being filled from the River Arun via underground chambers and pipes.

Arun District CouncilToday, the Oyster pond is in a sorry state of disrepair as Arun District Council have continually refused to invest in it’s upkeep. The sides of the pond are in a poor and dilapidated stated, the bottom leaks and without the substantial funding now needed to regenerate this feature, it’s unlikely that future generations will be able to enjoy it as we have.

Arun District Council

The steps leading into the Oyster Pond are in an appalling state. Ten years ago when I was the concession holder for the Oyster Pond, I proposed substantive restoration for the pond. Arun frustrated my efforts to make improvements, so I left it to them.

Since then, to the best of my knowledge, Arun have made no structural improvements to the Oyster Pond.

Arun’s Concession holders, Mike and Lisa run the pedal boats on the Oyster Pond and do a splendid job with them. However, the pond’s structure is in need of urgent attention something which Arun District Council steadfastly refuse to do.

Far easier to fire off threatening legal letters to a local character about the state of his property than address their own serious failings.

Arun’s Seafront car parks are another example of the council’s lack of ongoing preventive maintenance and upkeep. Despite charging top rates for seafront car parking, Arun infrequently cut the grass.

Arun District Counci Car parking

Seafront car park resembles more of a builder’s yard than a welcoming seafront car park.

Arun District Council Car Park

How can anyone claim the above surface is suitable for a car park? Arun do and when I complained, refused to accept that the above muddy surface was in any way dangerous.

Arun District Council leisure strategy

When I confronted Nigel Lynn at Arun District Council about the state of the seafront car parks, the official reply was that the state of their car parks presented no potential dangers, and Arun confirmed they don’t as a matter of course carry out any annual risk assessments on their car parks.

In my view, they should.

But far from addressing their own failings, easier to try and portray a man who has a sense of humour as being some sort of public enemy.

Laughable to suggest that Alan’s dog is likely to bring the area in disrepute and may increase and lead to anti-social behaviour.

quirky house Pier Road

Amazingly, Samantha Allen, Arun District Council’s Planning and Compliance and Monitoring Investigator demands to know why Alan has a toy dog hanging from outside his property, but when travellers illegally encamped on our seafront a couple of years ago, damaging fencing, ploughing up the ground with children riding motorbikes on the promenade and greensward – Arun District Council did nothing.

When I complained about District Council’s lack of enforcement action to Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive at Arun District Council, he told me that he had to consider the welfare of his own officers who would not therefore be confronting anti-social behaviour.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront update 3

The above anti-social behaviour went unchecked by Arun District Council while they busied themselves undertaking ‘welfare checks’.

Ship Wreck Littlehampton Arts Festival 2

Yet this gentleman who has done much to help many good local causes has been targeted by Arun District Council as being someone whose property is likely to cause anti-social behaviour

Arun District Council building 1

Of course when it comes to ‘poorly maintained buildings’, Arun District Council are no strangers.

The above picture is of Arun District Council’s housing office located adjacent to Littlehampton Town Council’s chambers. Arun allowed the building to fall into a poor state of repair, boarding up broken windows and doors and leaving this eyesore for a number of years before the town council purchased the building and demolished it.

Arun-20130305-00233On the left hand side of the above picture is Arun District Council’s offices, on the right the Town Council’s offices and home to Littlehampton Millennium Chambers.

I had been to three civil ceremonies at the Town Council’s beautifully presented Millennium Chambers and on each occasion, guests remarked at the appalling state of Arun’s building and how it let down an otherwise perfect venue.

Arun District Council were content to let their own poorly maintained and presented offices become a blight on Littlehampton’s landscape, until such time as the Town Council purchased the dilapidated buildings from them, demolished them making way for a lovely remembrance garden.

While I agree entirely it’s vital that business owners and property owners in Pier Road and Littlehampton present their buildings in such a way as to assist regenerating the area. I have some difficulty in accepting that Arun District Council are the ones to enforce change.

Far be it for them to lead by example and if letters are necessary, write without the threats. Far better to create a climate of enthusiasm and mutual co-operation rather than hitting a well-meaning, much loved local character over the head with threats of legal action.

As always, thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.

Don’t forget to follow the blog on twitter @pier_road

 

Paul

 

 

 

Three Brothers for sale

Littlehampton’s most iconic wooden boat, Three Brothers is up for sale.

Please note – If you’re interested in buying the Three Brothers – please contact Alan on 07854790531 – and not the number displayed/shown in the pictures below.

Sailing in Littlehampton Harbour 3

This classic wooden fishing boat (a 28ft Cornish Crabber) owned and lovingly maintained by the Rockall brothers, David, Alan and Brian is now up for sale.

Built in the early 1930s and was originally named The Lady Betty. When the brothers bought her, she was a near wreck and they spent many hours lovingly bringing her back to life. Along with a complete refurbishment and replacement of many of her planks, she needed a new mast and sails.

Since then they’ve sailed her extensively around the South Coast – she’s a familiar sight in the Solent – I’ve seen her a number of times when I’ve been sailing in the Solent. Her entry into Cowes harbour generates lots of interest from those travelling in on the Wighlink ferries as well as those standing on the shoreline.

She is beautiful underway.

No modern plastic boat or fiberglass replica can ever match her gracefulness while under sail. She is, as they say, the real thing. Not many of these boats left and it’s a credit to the brothers for looking after her as well as they have for as long as they have.

The brothers have also sailed her around Britain taking in the wilds of Scotland and returning via the Caledonian canal.

The boat offers basic accommodation – a small cabin housing a bunk, stove/galley all under the forepeak deck. It’s oozes charm and recreates the stately pace of a byegone era. As for sailing performance – this boat was built for the water and the relatively rough seas we frequently get off the South Coast – which she takes in her stride.

Three Brothers

Three Brothers sailing into Littlehampton harbour

She cuts a fine sight as she sails gracefully into Littlehampton harbour

 

Three Brothers Sailing Boat Littlehampton

If you’re interested in buying her, pop along to Littlehampton harbour by the slip way where she sits gracefully in the water, and at low tides sits upright on her beaching legs.

For further information contact the sellers on 07854790531

As always, thanks for reading, please do share your thoughts – good, bad or otherwise!

Paul

Littlehampton Fish Kiosk Moved

Littlehampton’s Riverside Fish Kiosk has moved.

With final works to complete Littlehampton’s £22m flood defence and regeneration project underway, Pier Road’s Riverside Fish Kiosk was moved today to its new home perched on the new riverside walkway.

Riverside fish was originally located in Pier Road junction with Arun Parade was moved at the beginning of the works to a temporary trading location in South Terrace junction with Pier Road and Arun Parade.

Today, the kiosk took to the air to take up its new home in the new riverside walkway. The event proved popular with locals and visitors alike who watched as the kiosk was craned through the air in what was an impressive maneuver.

Here it is in pictures.

Littlehampton 1

The crane arrives in Arun Parade ready to begin the operations.

Littlehampton 2

Final preparations to the Fish Kiosk are made.

Littlehampton 3

Passers by gather to watch the unfolding events.

Littlehampton 4

Riverside Fish kiosk has traded from this temporary base and location for the past eighteen months during the construction of the flood defence scheme and new public realms.

Littlehampton 5

A giant frame is craned into place.

Littlehampton 6

The frame is then attached to fish kiosk and it’s all ready for lift off.

Littlehampton 7

The Kiosk is all ready for lift-off. The gap between the kiosk and the telephone box is breathtakingly narrow.

Littlehampton 8

The kiosk begins to lift slowly off its temporary platform.

Littlehampton 9

Once clear of the telephone box, it’s free to be turned around in preparation for landing.

Littlehampton 10

Continuing its journey across Arun Parade.

Littlehampton 11

Ropes guide the angle of the kiosk positioning it ready for landing.

Littlehampton 13

An excited crowd of onlookers has gathered to watch this impressive spectacle on the new riverside walkway.

Littlehampton 14

Almost  home.

Littlehampton 15

The kiosk was held in the air for a period as work continued on  getting the various services lined up. Shortly after this picture, the kiosk was lowered to the ground where it can now be seen.

It’s hoped that the fish kiosk will re-open within a couple of weeks once it has been fitted out again, ready for business.

If you missed the kiosk moving from its original location to its temporary home you can see the pictures here.

Scheme Update

As I understand it, the Environment Agency and their partner’s Arun District Council are still aiming to have the Arun Parade section of the new walkway opened in time for Easter. I believe there’s been some technical problems with an area on the seafront, which may delay the opening of a section of the public realm on the seafront.

But hopefully the new walkway will be fully opened in time for Easter.

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

Paul.