About the Pier Road Diaries

Welcome to Pier Road Diaries, Littlehampton.

The diary is written by Paul Power, a Littlehampton business owner, author and freelance feature writer.

Background to the Littlehampton Blog

In 2012, the Environment Agency announced plans to build a new sea/flood defence wall in Littlehampton. Good news for the town, but their proposed works posed serious threats to the local business community, particularly those businesses, which were located in Pier Road, Littlehampton overlooking the harbour.

Power and his fellow traders became concerned when the Environment Agency (EA)  announced a temporary closure of Pier Road, necessary while they undertook some pre-works investigatory drilling. However, the EA had neither consulted with Pier Road businesses or residents or even applied to West Sussex County Council for the required permits to close the road.

Power challenged the EA over the proposed illegal closures of Pier Road and the EA replied that they didn’t need permits as they were ‘Environment Agency.’ Bizarrely, the EA were intent on using their emergency powers to close a road for a pre-planned capital expenditure programme.

In the end, they did have to apply for road permits to close the road and they weren’t allowed to close Pier Road during the busy period they had planned to.

It was an early warning of things to come.

Initially, the Environment Agency forecasted their works would take only 6 months and in the event they ran over time, they would suspend works during the busy tourist season thus allowing businesses and visitors to continue as usual.

However, the works took 3 years in total and the Environment Agency refused to suspend their works continuing to work during 2 busy summer seasons and breaking the promises made to Pier Road business owners and residents.

The impact of the works on local businesses was devastating.  Many local workers lost their jobs during the period that Pier Road was closed.

In a further blow to the local economy, the Environment Agency relied upon its central procurement policy for sourcing everything from materials to vehicles to staff. During the entire works, the local job centre did not advertise one job as result of the works.

Costs for the works escalated from an estimated £11.5m to £13m with the final bill believed to be in the region of £22.5m.

No explanation has ever been provided by the Environment Agency or their partners in the project – West Sussex County Council, Arun District Council, Littlehampton Harbour Board as to why initial financial forecasts proved so wrong.

The Environment Agency have never been held publicly accountable for their overspend and the fact that they’ve yet to actually finish Littlehampton’s sea defences.

Power continues to blog about life in the coastal town of Littlehampton. As yet, Littlehampton’s Flood Defences have not been completed by the Environment Agency. A large gap remains in the new flood defence wall in River Road.

 

New Stories on the Diaries have previously been taken up by:

  1. BBC Southern Counties News/Radio
  2. BBC South Today – News
  3. The Argus
  4. The Littlehampton Gazette
  5. Spirit FM
  6. Splash FM

Photographs from the diaries have previously been used and published by:

  1. BBC Sussex
  2. The Argus
  3. Littlehampton Gazette
  4. Environment Agency
  5. Look and Sea!
  6. Harbour Park, Littlehampton

Photographs and Copyright

Unless otherwise attributed, all photographs are copy right of Pier Road Diaries. If you’d like to use any of them, please email me at pierroad@live.co.uk.

If you’d like to email me – paulpower@live.co.uk

And also follow me on twitter @Pier_road

Pier Road is located in Littlehampton, West Sussex.

Littlehampton was voted one of the UK’s coolest seaside resorts by Vogue magazine.

Our Seafront/promenade is home to a number of iconic building and structures including:

  • East Beach Cafe
  • World’s Longest Bench
  • An award-winning band stand that’s too small to fit the town’s band…

Comments and contributions

Comments are welcomed and encouraged for each article/page.

Thank you for reading.

Paul Power

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