End of the line for Littlehampton miniature railway?

Not good news, I’m afraid.

I understand that the operator of Littlehampton’s Miniature railways has pulled out of Littlehampton, sold his rolling stock and ceased his operation.

The miniature railway which has been a long standing and much loved feature of Littlehampton’s East Beach area, will no doubt be sorely missed. Loved by old and young, alike.

Running from the putting green cafe to Mewsbrook park, the train has been an established feature of Littlehampton life for many years now, albeit having changed ownership over the past few years.

I’m not sure of the reasons why the operated has pulled out, but I have seen correspondence that suggests a breakdown between the concession holder and Arun District Council.

In any event, it very much appears that the operator has now sold his train and rolling stock and that as they say, is the end of that.

October last year a feature appeared in the Littlehampton Gazette where the train operator’s staff were concerned at being made redundant by their employer. However, their employer (the owner of the train and Arun District Council concession holder) made it clear that making the redundant was necessary as they were seasonal employees.

A shame, a real shame.

Meanwhile, Arun District Council are planning to increase Littlehampton’s seafront car parking charges by over 200%.

If the plans go ahead, the current charge (during July and August) will go from £6 for 2 hours plus to a whopping great £10.

And, your tenner will buy you a space as pictured below.

Arun District Counci Car parking

Would you be happy paying £10 to park in the above for £10?

My understanding from reading through Arun District Council’s proposed car parking increases is that the council have no plans to improve the already unacceptable car park conditions in Littlehampton seafront or to upgrade Littlehampton’s seafront toilets.

It’s amazing that given Arun District Council oversaw a £22.5m seafront regeneration scheme, that neither the existing public toilets or the public car park were deemed as being in need of regeneration.

You can see Arun District Council’s proposed car parking charges increase on Arun’s website here.

Tourism is a competitive business and my view is Arun District Council are in danger of pricing us out of the market. We also desperately need for Arun District Council to work at attracting and retaining concession holders and create modern, practical, usable seafront facilities.


As always, thanks for reading, comments welcome.

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Safety concerns grow in Littlehampton Harbour

Arun District Council’s recently completed new rirverside walkway in Littlehampton is giving rise to serious concerns regarding safety regarding the durability of the walkway’s new safety rail.

When these safety rails were being installed, a local resident in Pier Road who has some degree of experience and expertise with these type railings expressed his concerns regarding their installation. These concerns were dismissed by the Environment Agency’s Project management team and Arun District Council.

Since then the safety railings have continually come loose and the contractors returning on a number of occasions to fix them. Local residents have also voiced concern in the Littlehampton Gazette regarding the potential dangers posed by these railings, particularly risks to children.

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As you can see in the above picture the top two rails have come loose. I spoke to a lady earlier today who said she and others witnessed a 4-yr old boy climb on these railings and somehow  they came undone while he was climbing on them. This she  reported this to Arun District Council to be told that it wasn’t their problem and they weren’t going to repair it as it was the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

Littlehampton harbourThe initial remedy to the safety problem was for someone to come along from one of the authorities and wind some red and white tape around the broken rail while leaving the dangerous gap exposed.

As a week had passed and no one had come to fix the railings, the lady who runs a business in Pier Road contacted the Environment Agency  to see if they were actually going to fix the problem. More especially as we’re approaching August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Environment Agency’s initial response to her was to say that the matter had nothing to do with them, but was the responsibility of Arun District Council.

It was after this ridiculous reply from both Arun District Council and the Environment Agency that I tweeted both parties. You can see the tweets and the replies by following the Pier Road twitter feed.

The power of twitter should never be underestimated and the Environment Agency replied via twitter saying they would get a local crew to look into it.

A few minutes later my lady received another telephone call from the Environment Agency saying they would now get someone out to deal with the problem.

And it’s not just one railing that has failed.

Littlehampton HarbourEvidence of further failings of the safety railing. I understand that this has been like this for a number of days and has gone ignored by the authorities despite their being advised of the problem.

Littlehampton harbourAnother area where the safety railing has gone completely.

Littlehampton harbour

Another area on the top of the walkway over the river where the safety railing has proved defective.

Littlehampton harbourHere again the railing has failed.

This isn’t the first instances of this railing failing. These safety railings have continually failed since the walkway was opened in April 2015. Looks very much like Pier Road’s resident who voiced concerns that these railings were being installed incorrectly was right all along and the highly paid experts from the authorities were wrong.

Both Arun District Council and the Environment Agency should treat failures in these railings with the seriousness it deserves. Children and adults climb on these railings to either get a better view or a better vantage for crabbing.

Yes, adults should supervise their children and ensure they don’t climb on these railings, but they do and will continue to do so as this is human nature.

We need to be assured by the Environment Agency and Arun District Council that the repairs that will be undertaken now permanent and these railings will fail yet again in another couple of week’s time.

Somehow I doubt we’ll get these assurances, but let’s hope we get the problem fixed once and for all.

Update:

On Monday morning, Environment Agency’s Contractor Marshalls have attended Pier Road to repair the broken safety rails.

 

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

Paul

 

Littlehampton Harbour’s Waterfront Festival, a huge success

Crowds gathered in Littlehampton harbour on Sunday, 2nd August 2015 for Littlehampton’s Waterfront Festival.

This popular annual event organised by Littlehampton’s Harbour Master, Billy Johnson proved a huge success with visitors. The RNLI treated waterside spectators to a spectacular display of their seamanship and boating skills within the confines of the relatively narrow river Arun.

RNLI Littlehampton Littlehampton RNLI was joined by RNLI Shoreham’s all weather lifeboat, art Tamar which welcomed visitors aboard for a tour of this very impressive vessel.

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RNLI Shoreham’s all weather lifeboat named the Enid Collett after the late donor’s generous legacy funded the boat which costs £2.7million leaving Littlehampton Harbour after allowing visitors onboard for a tour and to meet the patient crew who answered everyone’s questions.

Littlehampton HarbourThere was lots of water-based activities for visitors to enjoy including this amazing water jet which propelled the rider out of the water to seemingly walk along the river.

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Littlehampton Waterfront Festival attracted large numbers of visitors to the area on what was a beautiful day.

Littlehampton RNLIRNLI Littlehampton’s Blue Peter 1, an Atlantic 75 lifeboat showing it’s capabilities within the confines of the relatively narrow River Arun.

Littlehampton RNLILittlehampton Harbour Board Erica Littlehampton Harbour Board’s new workboat Erica strutting her stuff during Littlehampton Waterfront Festival.

Littlehampton HarbourJet Skis in action during the Waterfront Festival in Littlehampton harbour

Littlehampton Littlehampton’s new public realm provided lots of space for viewing the water based activities.

LittlehamptonLittlehampton’s new public realm links up to the recently built waterside walkway providing an off-road route from Littlehampton seafront to the town centre. The new walkway was a joint project between the Environment Agency and their partners, Arun District Council, Littlehampton Harbour Board, West Sussex County Council and Littlehampton Town Council. The scheme was delivered at a total cost of £22.5m and includes a significant new sea defence wall along Pier Road and Arun Parade.

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New and old. The new public realm linking to the riverside walkway which was completed in 2006.

Arun Yacht ClubArun Yacht Club’s dingy sailors were out in force showing off their skills.

Littlehampton Harbour Littlehampton RNLI beach lifeguards were part of the main RNLI display.

LittlehamptonLittlehampton RNLI boats on display.

Sadly, the seaplane which was due to arrive at midday had to cancel at short notice owing to the pilot’s wife being unwell. We hope all is well with her and a picture below of the seaplane landing at last year’s Waterfront Festival.

DSCF4918Seaplane landing at last year’s Waterfront Festival.

Thanks to Littlehampton Harbour Master Billy Johnson and his wonderful staff for putting on another great event.

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As always, your comments are most welcome.

Thanks for reading.

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

 

Sea Plane lands in Littlehampton Harbour

Sunday, 27th July saw a very busy one-day Littlehampton Water Front Festival organised by Littlehampton Harbour Board. This year’s event proved enormously popular with locals and visitors alike.  Much credit must go to Littehampton Harbour Master Billy Johnson and his wonderful team for creating such a carnival atmosphere despite all the ongoing construction works of Littlehampton’s sea defences.

The event which included an open day at Littlehampton’s RNLI with visiting RNLI boats from neighbouring stations; dingy sailing, swimming racing and many other attractions, however the real star of the show as the arrival of a Sea Plane which after a fly over landed to a round of applause in the River Arun.

Littlehampton harbourboard staff

Littlehampton Water Front Festival was compared by Keith Croft a well-known and much-loved master of ceremonies for Littlehampton events. Keith the crowd updated and entertained throughout the day with up-to-the-minute information on what was happening. Above Keith is announcing the arrival of the sea plane.

Littlehampton Sea Plane 2

The Sea plane arrives and touches the water briefly before heading back out again for its final landing approach. The plane, a Cessna C182R is a single engined aircraft which can land both on water and runways. Owned and piloted by Captain John Russell, this plane is a familiar aircraft in the Solent and the Isle of Wight areas.

Littlehampton sea plane

If you look closely at the yacht’s rigging you can see the seaplane coming in to land.

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Just about to touch down.

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Touching down.

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Safely down. Note the trolley like wheels at the front of the floats. Under the floats the landing gear allows this plane to land on traditional runway surfaces as well as water.

Littlehampton Sea plane 6

Harbour staff assist the plane and tow it to the pontoons where everyone could get a closer look.

Littlehampton Waterfront Festival crowds

This year’s event certainly managed to pull the crowds to Littlehampton and everyone I spoke to (or overheard) were loud in their praise for the interesting and enjoyable event this was and much credit again to Billy and the team at Littlehampton Harbour Board for putting on such a great day’s entertainment.

Littlehampton Waterfront Festival crowds 1

Crowds enjoying Littlehampton’s Waterfront Festival

Waterfront Festival view

All the visiting boats were open to the public to have a wander around and see what the inside of a lifeboat looks like and chat to the friendly RNLI crew who were manning the vessels.

Waterfront Festival patrol vessel

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