Update on Littlehampton’s Sea Defence Works

Environment Agency Sea DefencesThis super little craft owned by the Environment Agency is just one of the recent strange goings on in Pier Road in recent days. More about it in a moment, but first the bizarre notice from the Royal Mail stuck to their post box in Arun Parade announcing the removal of the Post Box as Pier Road would shortly be closed owing to the proposed sea defence works.

Royal Mail LittlehamptonIf you click on the picture you can read the notice – which essentially says that they’ve been advised by Arun District Council that Pier Road will be closed for anywhere between 12-18 months.

Yes, we know it’s going to close, but we’ve been assured by both Arun District Council and the Environment Agency that the works to Pier Road would take up to six months and the works wouldn’t interfere with the summer season.

Our contact at the Environment Agency confirms this is still the case and believes the Royal Mail have misinterpreted what they’ve been told by Arun District Council.

We’re not convinced in Pier Road and many of us expect that these works will go on for considerably longer than the promised 6 months.

A Traffic Order closing Pier Road and Arun Parade appeared in last week’s Littlehampton Gazette and West Sussex County Council declared that Pier Road would be closed to vehicular traffic from 7th October to 8 August 2014. This application made by the Environment Agency.

Back to the Environment Agency’s Green Boat.

Environment Agency BoatThis boat has been designed to measure the speed/velocity of the river’s flow and assist in forecasting what impact, if any, the Environment’s Agency’s Sea Defences will have on the speed of the river.

A number of parites have expressed serious concerns that once the sea defences are completed, the river arun will flow even faster and could potentially become unsuitable for leisure use.

Concerns have also been expressed that with the narrowing of the river, there will be insufficient room for commercial traffic to visit the harbour.

To-date, these concerns have been dismissed by the Environment Agency’s engineers who have been commissioned to design the sea defences.

They predict a maximum of 5% change, if any.

However, as fears and concerns are growing, the green boat has been introduced by the Environment Agency to double check on the figures given to them by their consulting engineers.

The results of the tests aren’t yet public, however the boat was in action all day and into Friday evening.

The above pictures of it may give a misleading impression – it’s much smaller than it appears as shown below.

Environment Agency Boat measureThe boat is referred to as an ARC Boat. More information on it can be found here.

When will the road closures in Pier Road take place?

The Environment Agency have now officially confirmed that Pier Road and Arun Parade will close to vehicular traffic starting on 21st October 2013. Our sidebar calender has now been updated to countdown this momentous event.

What will Pier Road look like then?

It’s difficult to imagine how Pier Road will look to those of us who live and work here, let alone visitors, but essentially immediately outside our businesses will be a narrow footway (1.5metres) directly in front of which will be wooden hoardings blocking out any view of the river or what is happening behind the hoardings.

It will be dramatic and traumatic, especially as trade at the moment is so volatile for us all.

Despite it all, most businesses will be keeping open – we have to, the alternative is to go bust and loose everything.

We hope that during the works our loyal customers will continue to visit Pier Road and see what’s going on and support the many small independent businesses that operate in Pier Road.

We also hope that we can enjoy a good working relationship with the Environment Agencies Contractors and also those working on behalf of Arun District Council.