Pier Road will Close advice from the Environment Agency

“Shut your business and take a holiday…..”

Was the shocking advice from Peter Borseberry, Project Manager for the proposed Flood Defences for Pier Road’s Littlehampton.

I sat there shocked as he gave his update for the proposed Sea Defences for Littlehampton during last week’s meeting at Arun District Council.

During this meeting, Pier Road Traders were told:

  1. Pier Road, Littlehampton will be closed for the duration of the works to build the new sea defences.
  2. There may, where possible be a provision to include a pavement for pedestrians, but this cannot be guaranteed, rendering Pier Road closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
  3. There is no timescale for the proposed works, but the Environment Agency hope it to be completed within  6 months.
  4. The important thing is that Fish movements in the River Arun are monitored to ensure that there is as little impact on their habitat and movements as possible.
  5. Properties in Pier Road could be potentially damaged by the works. Thus far, the EA seem to have overlooked the fact that so many of Pier Road’s properties have basements.
  6. Viewing Platforms to be erected for the public who can marvel at the works being done.

Then we had a bizarre invitation that it might be ‘best  to consider closing your business and taking a holiday…”

I got the impression that the welfare of the fish was being put before those of the tax-paying public and business rate payers.

For example, Peter explained that it was an important task of the Environment Agency to accommodate the fishes needs in the River Arun and that their work shouldn’t impact on them.

Compare this to the treatment of those of us who either live or have businesses in Pier Road.

To date, neither the EA or Arun District Council has as much as commissioned something as simple as a traffic survey, residents survey, or local business survey in order to understand Pier Road’s local geography and needs.

Far better to stand watching the fish rather than undertake something that could potentially save businesses from going bankrupt.

But in my experience, Councils don’t do ‘reality’ well. They prefer to see everything through the prisms of a carefully appointed, invariably overpaid ‘consultant’ than confront what’s actually going on outside their own doors.

Important tools such as a well-thought out Traffic Management Plan, get overlooked in the rush to adhere to form-filling duties as opposed to actually creating a safe and sensible management of road closures.

In my view, the impact on closing Pier Road for such a prolonged period will have a devastating impact on businesses not just in Pier Road, but also Littlehampton Town Centre as traffic chaos and gridlock will result in less visitors coming to either area and shopping and visiting elsewhere.

The potential disastrous impact of this development could be greatly reduced if the work was carried out, riverside, than roadside. That way Pier Road and Arun Parade would remain in some way open to traffic.

I must say I was grateful for the support of Councillor Paul Bicknell who made a point of insisting that the EA build into the Contract of Works a Clause stating that a footpath be maintained open in Pier Road throughout the proposed period of Works and Councillor Dingemans’s suggestion to offer free parking nearby in the Pay and Display Car park.

Littlehampton Pier Road returns to normal.

27th October, 2012.

As promised by the Environment Agency, they have completed their initial exploratory works in time for the arrival of half-term and Pier Road and its surrounding environs are now free from any road works.

What was apparent during the recent road works was the problems with traffic management.

As you can see in the above picture, courtesy of Andy Cooper of the Beach Hut, Littlehampton, the Northbound Carriageway has been closed to vehicular traffic to allow exploratory work to be undertaken.

Quite sensibly, as part of the traffic management plan, parking was suspended opposite and just ahead of the road closure to allow traffic flow past the vehicles that were already stopped waiting at the temporary traffic lights.

It’s fairly straight forward and simple, or at least, you’d imagine it would be. But what happened in reality was a significant number of drivers ignored the ‘No Parking’ notices and parked there at the junction outside 47 Mussel Row, which lead to traffic chaos as they blocked the path of oncoming traffic.

Even the local police, Sussex Police got caught in the ensuing chaos caused by the motorist parked up ahead who has blocked traffic flow by ignoring the temporary parking suspension notices.  (Photo courtesy of Andy Cooper, Beach Hut, Pier Road).

As you can see, entrance in and out of Clifden Road is also blocked, which caused even more choas than usual.

When Arun District Council were phoned to dispatch traffic wardens or CSOs or whatever it is they’re called now, two promptly arrived only to tell us that there was nothing they could do as they temporary traffic regulations were unenforceable!

The solution was for a number of traffic cones to be laid along Pier Road where the offending motorists are parked in the above picture.

The reaction of the illegal/inconsiderate parkers/motorists was to remove the traffic cones from the road and place them on the pavement and then park there oblivious or unconcerned as they brought Pier Road to a standstill.