Latest Update Littlehampton Flood Defences

First of all, apologies for not updating the blog for some time.

There have been a number of reasons for this, which I don’t intend to dwell on in this update. Just to say, a big thank you to all those who’ve popped in to see me in my shop in Pier Road and say how much they miss the regular blog updates.

Also to wish, Eric Smethurst who was the scheme’s Public Liaison manager continued recovery, following an illness, which forced him to leave the project last Autumn.

Here’s the latest update based on information provided to traders in Pier Road by the Environment Agency, West Sussex Highways Authority and Arun District Council.

The Flood Defence Wall is now completed

The Environment Agency have confirmed that the building of the Pier Road and Arun Parade’s Flood Defence wall is now complete. Work continues on finishing the public realm works. While these works are being undertaken by the Environment Agency’s contractors, and the project managed by the Environment Agency, the funding for the public realm is the  responsibility of Arun District Council and Littlehampton Harbour Board.

When should the public realm works be finished?

Hopefully these works should be finished in January. At the moment, Pier Road is a hive of activity with various sub-contractors completing the works. It’s not easy for them working in what are extremely cold, windy and wet conditions.

In any event, we’ve been assured that the public realm works in Pier Road will be finished this month, January 2015.

What’s happening with Pier Road – the road that is?

This is now the most frequent question we get asked in Pier Road – what is happening the road itself.

Many believe Pier Road will be pedestrianised, which is not the case.

Neither will Pier Road be re-instated as a one-way traffic flow.

Pier road will re-open as it was before – a two-way traffic flow, but will be significantly narrower at two points. This being the bend outside the door of our shop (Coastal Cycles) and the junction with Arun Parade outside the Nelson public house.

Many of us wanted a one-way traffic flow with traffic calming measures. However, this won’t be the case. Instead we’re getting a revisit to the ‘old Pier Road’ which many will remember for its traffic chaos, particularly during the high season.

The obvious advantages of turning Pier Road into a one-way traffic flow would have been it would continue the one-way traffic flow already in operation in the town centre and provide further riverside parking areas and with adequate traffic calming measures, could slow the traffic down making it safer and easier to cross.

So when will Pier Road open?

The current schedule is as follows:

  • 19th January 2015 – West Sussex County Council Highways contractors move into Pier Road to begin works to re-instate the road. This will include widening the pavements outside our shop (Coastal Cycles) and resurfacing the road ready for re-opening
  • These works are estimated to take between 4-6, perhaps even 8 weeks.
  • The current schedule is that Pier Road and Arun Parade will be open in time for Easter.

What’s happening with the budget?

Difficult to say, really.

The original financial figures stated the scheme would cost £14.5million and original forecasts were that it would all be completed in six months.

Worth remembering that Pier Road was closed to traffic on the 21st October 2013 and still remains closed.

As for the budget, when the Flood Defence Minister, Dan Rogerson visited Littlehampton’s Flood defence scheme works in December, it was announced that the scheme was now costing £22.1m. So we can only assume that the scheme is £7m over budget.

So essentially a year behind and £7million over-budget .

I will leave the last word to Flood Defence Minister, Dan Rogerson:

“I’m very pleased at how the project is coming along.”

Dan Rogerson, Flood Defence Minister.

December 2014

 

Please Note – Thanks to our website company, the comments section is now working, so please feel free to add any thoughts/comments. Thank you.

As always, thank you for reading.

Paul Power

 

Does this look like it’s suitable for disabled access?

With over £14.5 million pounds of your hard earned money being spent ‘regenerating’ Littlehampton’s Pier Road (and surrounding environs) you’d imagine that the least the Project Manager, Peter Borseberry could achieve would be a suitable ramp allowing disabled people enjoy a boat trip in our lovely harbour?

(remember to click on the pictures to blow them up for a closer look)

Disabled Access

Regrettably not. Take a look at the new ‘disabled compliant’ ramp that leads to the pontoons where you can take a charter boat, fishing trip, ferry trip or a scenic tour.

By any stretch of the imagination, I think it would be hard to imagine pushing your loved one up or down this monstrosity let alone doing it on your own.

The Environment Agency dispute this.David Robinson, Operations Manager for The Environment Agency in the South East assured me when we met earlier this week that the above steps are fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Disabled access

Here’s the steps from a different angle. These photographs were taken close to ‘low tide’ but the tides at the time of the photographs are on what’s known as ‘neaps’. On Spring tides, the angle will be substantially more acute making the ramp even steeper. Make sure you strap your loved ones in their chairs, say your goodbyes and hope that Mr Robinson and Mr Borseberry have got it right.

Disabled access

This new ramp, which we’ve been assured is fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995  is due to open in January 2015.

Disabled access

A long way up even for the fittest amongst us. Remember this ramp will be used by divers and fishermen carrying diving equipment or pushing it in trailers.

Personally, I don’t believe this ramp complies with the requirements or even the Disability Discrimination Act and if does, then the Act needs to be amended.

Apologies, the add comments field is still problematic. Please email your comments or thoughts to pierroad@live.com

Thanks for reading.

Paul

 

Update on Littlehampton Sea Defences

An update on Littlehampton Sea defence works.

Piling Works in Pier Road and Arun Parade

Piling works in Pier Road are now completed. The last pile in Pier Road was driven in successfully yesterday evening and we can look forward to a quieter environment and a welcome break from the noise of the piling works.

There is however, one small gap in Arun Parade junction with Pier Road where piling will continue. This gap had to be left until last for engineering reasons. However, it won’t take long and then the Piling Crews – two of them will be moving to the River Road area.

If you’ve visited Arun Parade recently you’ll have seen that the actual flood defence wall is taking shape as the capping has been built along quite a long stretch of the Parade.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Construction 1

The finished height of the wall is causing lots of concern and comment as to it being too high. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about this. This height was advised by the Environment Agency and Arun District Council throughout the consultation period. I have some reservations as to where the height indicators were measured from, but anyway, we’re going to be looking at a very major wall structure in Arun Parade and Pier Road which is why Arun District Council who are responsible for designing and funding the public realm for these works have to get this right. If they don’t, Littlehampton residents and visitors and future generations will be looking at an almighty eye sore wondering how this was ever allowed.

We’ve already seen the budget for the public realms having to be increased by £600,000 – £297,00 actually paid into the pot with a further £300,000 being kept in reserves.

However, even with these increased budgets, the public realm provisions have been cut back. The main feature being lost was the beautiful steps leading to the beach at the Harbour Park end of Arun Parade and the planting arrangements going from attractive tiered levels to a simple all-in slope.

So, we the local Arun tax payer are paying more for less

We all need to be vigilant now. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure that Pier Road, Arun Parade and Littlehampton harbour’s future isn’t blighted by complacency, naivety and a misguided belief that Arun District Council actually deliver on anything they promise.

Of note at our last Trader’s Partnership stakeholders meeting – the contractor building the public realm informed us that they’d only just received the actual plans from Arun District Council and that they’d have an actual quotation for the works available by middle of June.

So what’s gone on here then?

We were actually promised that Pier Road and Arun Parade would be finished by July. Then we had the wet-weather excuses and so forth. But now we learn that the public realms haven’t even been quoted on and we’re at the end of June.

How can anyone honestly expect us to believe that this project, that was due to finish in July, could have actually finished on time when here we are last week in May 2014, and Arun District Council have only NOW completed their plans as ask the contractor to provide a quotation for them?

Are we really meant to believe that Arun District Council had intended to provide the contractors with a final plan for the public realm at the end of May for it to be quoted for and built by 27th July some 8 weeks later?

There’s no doubt that the Environment Agencies contractor VolkerStevin has come in for some harsh criticism. Some of it, well deserved. Which one of us could forget the evening that VolkerStevin’s Site Manager, a man who previously told us he was an old hat at piling works and had never had a previous job run overtime – tell us that it would take 30 days to pile Pier Road when in fact it’s taken almost five months. When you see the complexity of the engineering and the logistics of the build, it’s easy to see why it took them 5 months. In fact, they should be congratulated for achieving this in 5 months, but why did their site manager say 30 days?

Anyway, easy to forget or overlook good old Uncle Arun when lambasting VolkerStevin.

It’s not VolkerStevin who have created a wish-list and a grandiose plan that now can’t be funded, it’s Uncle Arun and we shouldn’t let Uncle Arun sit quietly in the corner hoping that we’ll throw all our apples at VolkerStevin.

Since the previous VolkerStevin site manager (referred to above) has been relieved of his post and a replacement appointed, we really have seem remarkable results. His replacement is a no-nonsense, amenable, get-the-job-done guy who gets my vote of confidence.

We’re lucky to have him.

With this in mind, I do think that we can now start to believe what we’re being told in relation to schedules and end dates.

What’s happening in River Road and the Arun View

If you’re a twitter follower of @Pier_road you’ll have seen I tweeted pictures of the road closures that came into force on 27th May. Essentially, River Road is now closed from just outside the ‘red footbridge’ to numbers 1-5 Riverside Walk and this section will remain closed until October subject to meeting the current works schedule.

Access still remains to the Arun View Public House and The Steam Packet and it’s important to remember that the Steam Packet Public House and restaurant remains fully open and operational.

The Arun View unfortunately has had to close its main restaurant and bar are but the front bar will remain open (where possible) during this period. Works will be underway in the Arun View as the flood defence construction includes building in front of this property (riverside) and actually inside in one area. The good news is that the Arun View will re-open bigger and better than before and we can all look forward to being welcomed back to this hugely popular, successful and friendly restaurant and bar sometime hopefully in September/October.

I’m currently photographing Reach 6, this being the one you can see down by the river Arun along the Littlehampton by-pass. It’s an interesting area as the contractors have begun digging out what appears to be a lagoon. Andrew Walker of the EA has kindly agreed to answer all my questions and give a technical overview of what’s going on here  and what will the finished area look like. I know this has been of concern to a number of you as you’ve come into my shop to ask what’s going on here.

All for now, remember to sign up to regular updates for the blog by using the right hand side subscription box and don’t forget to follow @Pier_road on twitter for more regular updates and the ongoing task of forcing Arun District Council to actually deliver on their promises.

 

 

 

 

Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea Officially Opened.

After long delays, Littlehampton’s newest seafront attraction The Stage By The Sea was opened earlier today, Sunday 11th May 2014 by Littlehampton’s Mayor Councillor Joyce Bowyer.

Littlehampton Stage By the Sea official opening 1

Littlehampton’s Mayor Councillor Joyce Bowyer and Littlehampton Town Councillor Malcolm Belchamber speak at the today’s opening. Councillor Belchamber was the host for today’s event.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 8

Crowds gathered to watch the official opening and just as the ribbon was about to be cut, the sun came out, which hopefully is a good omen for Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 4

Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea’s blue ribbon cut marking its opening.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 12

Members of the Edwin James Festival Choir waiting to take the stage and make history by being the Stage By The Sea’s first performers.

Littlehampton Stage By the Sea official opening 3

The Choir’s performance got an enthusiastic response from the crowd and it was interesting that despite the awful winds, the sound was clear and beautiful. The Stage By The Sea has been designed to allow microphone-less performances and the designers say that is a key feature of the shell-like structure. However, during today’s opening microphone’s were used.

Edwin Jones Festival Choir Littlehampton Stage by the Sea

Some members of the Edwin James Festival Choir performing earlier.

The Choir will be performing their “Darling Buds of May Concert” at St James The Great Church, East Ham Road Littlehampton on Saturday 17th May, 2014 together with their friends from Ontario, Canada  from the Addison Women’s Choir.

Tickets are £8 and the concert begins at 7.30. Full details on their website.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 6

There was no doubt about it, 9-year old “JD” from Wick, Littlehampton, a previous winner of “Wick’s got talent” stole the show with his own unique dance routine. Written and performed by himself, JD really won the audience over.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 7

“JD” ending his routine to rapturous applause.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 9

Folk singer, Mal entertained the crowds with his one-man folk performance his music which has very beautiful and melodic with a Celtic theme.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 11

Mal singing at the opening of Littlehampton’s Stage By The sea.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 5

Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea is located in the old Banjo Road Gardens. During today’s official opening, the audience were not allowed to go onto the grass. However, I’d imagine this was done to the fact that the turf had only been laid late this week and will need time to establish itself.

Winning Design for Littlehampton's Stage By The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea

The structure itself differs somewhat from the original artists impression as the two shell-like structures are not seamlessly joined together. Neither can you walk over the roof as was originally described.The two shells have instead been created independent of each other, divided by a lower grass walkway. On the sea-facing side there is a smaller shell-like structure which has been created as a (fairly small) seafront shelter.

The location itself, Banjo Road Car park has raised some eyebrow’s locally as this location doesn’t really allow much of on an area for an audience to gather without the necessity for closing the coach car park. However, it certainly looked great today with the sun shining down of the stage and the wonderful performances.

The Stage by the Sea can be booked for your own event via Arun District Council’s Website here

It will be interesting to see how this latest ‘quirky’ Littlehampton Seafront feature goes down with the locals and visitors.

But today at least, the sun shone and those of us who attended enjoyed some splendid performances and were reminded of the wonderful talent we have living amongst us. Regrettably I had to leave before the end of the acts and I apologise for missing out the other two final acts performances.

Littlehampton Stage by the Sea official opening 10

A couple watching Mel’s folk music performance.

DSCF4705

The somewhat controversial longest bench structure provides an excellent vantage point for the new Stage By The Sea.

Latest Update from Littlehampton’s Sea Defences

Last week, the crane was successfully positioned on its new Crane Bridge, which will now carry it along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 2

The week got off to a flying start as the first batch of piles were driven into the River Arun in the Pier Road stretch. Above, the crane sitting proudly on it’s new crane bridge which as you can see, part of which, rests on the piles.

Littlehampton sea defences 1

The Crane on its new platform beginning the piling works in Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences paddler

A paddler getting a closer look at the construction of the Environment Agency’s flood defence scheme in Littlehampton. From the above picture, you can see the piling works in the Pier Road reach are making considerable progress.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 4

The second part of the crane bridge arrived earlier in the week and this has now been assembled in front of the original bridge allowing the crane to move forward to begin on the next batch of piles.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 2

Welders working on assembling the new section of the crane bridge.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 6

Once this new section of the crane bridge was completed, the crane drove forward into its new position further along Pier Road. Work is now underway to remove the section of the crane bridge that the crane was sitting on, which will then be positioned in front of this section, thus allowing the crane to ‘leap frog’ along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 3

The structure in front of the crane bridge is the piling gate, which has to be assembled to allow the crane position the piles into the gate so they can be driven accurately into the river bed. It’s easy to see why this won’t be a quick job.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 5

The area behind the piling is back-filled with aggregate.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 7

The first pile in the next batch is positioned and once in place the piling gate will then be fixed to it allowing the other piles to be carefully positioned. When all the piles in this gate are successfully driven home, the now redundant section of the crane bridge will be positioned on top of them thus creating the next platform the next gate and so on until they reach their final destination in Pier Road where they’ll marry up with the riverside walkway.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 8The vibro hammer drives in the pile to it’s first position and the pile is then driven home with the banging hammer. The one that you can hear most days now. While not a particularly welcoming sound, it is good news as when you can hear it, you know the work is underway. The Contractors estimate that piling should be completed in Pier Road sometime in May.

Littlehampton flood defences 1

Above, the piling gate has now been assembled and is in place to allow the crane position the next batch of piles.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 3

Appearances can be misleading and while Pier Road gives a great view of the works in progress, it doesn’t show the actual progress that well. The above stretch of piling has been achieved in super-quick time.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 4

As you step back on the West Beach side and take in the view, you can see just how much progress has already been achieved in the Arun Parade Reach.

Pier Road Littlehampton

Above picture illustrates the increased height of the flood defences. On top of the piles will be a concrete capping, railings thereby increasing its height even further. As you can see this will impact on the views looking out from the restaurants once the scheme is completed.

It’s vital that the enhancements to ‘soften’ the impact of this wall is successfully created, otherwise Pier Road and it’s roadside environs will be looking at a concrete wall for its future.

Apologies that I had no blog update last week as the Pier Road Diaries have moved severs. A couple of technical hitches have now been sorted out and we’re back on track.

As always, thanks for reading and following.

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