Littlehampton new swimming pool and leisure centre given the go ahead.

Great news for Littlehampton residents and visitors to our beautiful seaside town. Councillors at Arun District Council have unanimously agreed Arun District Council’s (ADC) to build a new Leisure centre including a  new 25 meter swimming pool.

Littlehampton’s new leisure centre will be located at the existing Sea Road site with the new building being built on the site of the existing Sport’s Dome, thereby allowing the existing swimming pool, gym and cafe to continue to operate during the building works.

Facilities at Littlehampton’s new Leisure Centre will include:

  • 25 metre pool
  • Learner pool with a moveable floor
  • Gym – circa 450 m2 giving up to 85 stations
  • Spinning Studio
  • Cafe
  • Multipurpose meeting room
  • Dome will be replaced with a 4 court sports hall
  • 2 flexible studios that will be able to accommodate many of the activities that take place in the existing sports dome.
  • new facility will be DDA Compliant.

New facility will not include a 50 metre swimming pool.

Some will be disappointed that the new facility does not include a 50metre swimming pool, however Arun advise that this wouldn’t be possible as the costs of constructing one would increase the project costs by an estimated £3m and the subsequent running costs would be considerably higher.

Dome users will have no facilities while works are underway

Unfortunately current users of the Dome will see this facility taken away as the new building is being built on this part of the site. Arun advise that Freedom Leisure are currently working on ways of providing alternative facilities.

Littlehampton Residents Concerns.

Some residents had worried that the new facility would be located in North Littlehampton, however Arun District Council have now decided that new facilities will be located in the existing site, which is great news for Littlehampton’s seafront.

Tree felling.

Others have worried that the new facility will require trees to be felled in Littlehampton’s Mewsbrook Park and Ruby Gardens. Although some trees will have to be felled to allow building works, Arun advise that will take place outside of the nesting season and will be kept to a minimum. They also promise to replant trees to replace those felled.

Impact on the Aqua Youth Centre

Apart from what Arun describe as some small alterations to the layout of the Aqua Youth Centre, Arun advise that this much-loved and tremendous local sailing facility will continue to operate as normal.

Building works begin in Spring 2017

Building of the new facilities is expected to begin as early as Spring 2017 and completion by April 2019.

Arun District Council are giving assurances that works will not disrupt existing leisure facility users and current car parking arrangements and access will be  maintained.

The new facility is expected to cost £15million and Arun are a little unclear as to how this will be funded. They state that funding will come from:

  1. Capital receipts
  2. Borrowing (which Arun describe as ‘prudent borrowing’.
  3. Grant from Sport England

Arun have yet to have grant funding from Sport England approved,  and it’s unclear if they’ve actually yet applied for a grant, yet this is still classified as a funding source. Somewhat worrying, as what happens if Sport England reject their grant application?

Who pays then, and more importantly, how much?

Although this is very much welcome news for Littlehampton and Arun residents, we should all keep a close eye on the project’s progress to ensure that what’s promised is actually delivered.

Once the new facility has been built, Arun advise that the old facility will be demolished and the area turned into a public space.


As always thanks for reading, your comments welcome.

 

 

Spectacular behind the scenes pictures from the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences

A huge thank-you to Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency for providing these superb behind-the-scenes pictures. A number of them have been taken from a basket hanging from one of the cranes.

(Click on the pictures to super-size them)

Littlehampton Sea DefencesA bird’s-eye view of Littlehampton’s East Bank Flood Defences Scheme under construction.

Construction of Littlehampton's Sea DefencesAmazing view of the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour, Littlehampton’s iconic Lighthouse and the boardwalk loved by so many.

Aran Parade 5

The area behind the piling at Littlehampton’s Arun Parade all ready for backfilling and them a cap will be built on top raising the level of the sea defences.

Arun ParadeThe area being backfilled.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant especially created Crane Bridge/Platform which will carry the 136tonne crane along Pier Road while it undertakes the piling works. One side of this giant bridge will sit on Pier Road with the other sitting on the recently installed piles. It will work it’s way along Pier Road North with the crane sitting on top. Quite a sight when it’s up and running,which we hope will be tomorrow (Tuesday, 25th February 2014).

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant crane’s plaform which sits on wooden sleepers.

constucting Littlehampton's sea defencesThe Piling hammer which drives the piles into the river bed.

Thanks again to Andrew from the Environment Agency and to VolkerStevin for allowing me to use these pictures on the Pier Road Diaries. As always, thanks to Eric Smethurst,Volker Stevin’s public liaison manager for providing us and all the visitors to the scheme with updates and explanations and for answering my endless questions and the construction staff not minding my poking my camera at them.

Remember to sign up for regular blog updates by entering your email address in the top right hand corner of this page.

And if you’re on twitter, follow Pier Road Diares on Twitter – @Pier_Road

Make sure you visit Littlehampton Seafront to see history being made. This is once-in-a-lifetime event and we’re now entering the most exciting part of the scheme’s construction.

As always, thanks for reading and following.

The Pier Road Diaries is now getting over 5,000 visitors a month and our mailing list is growing daily. If you’re planning a Littlehampton event, please do let us know – email us at pierroad@live.com and we’ll update your event’s details to the ‘What’s on Section’ of the blog, which we’re currently working on.

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Amazing ‘behind the scenes’ pictures of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences.

A huge thanks to Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Scheme Liaison Manager for providing us with these amazing behind the scenes pictures of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences.

Sit back, and enjoy the amazing views… (taken from the bucket of the Crane!)

Don’t forget to click on the pictures to see them full size.

Littlehampton Sea Defences

Littlehampton Sea DefencesLittlehampton

Littlehampton harbourLittlehampon sea defencesLittlehampton Sea DefencesEnvironment Agency Flood DefencesLittlehampton flood defencesLittlehampton HarbourLittlehamton sea defence constructionPiling GatePiling Gate pictured above and below

Piling gate

Littlehampton HarbourThanks again to Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin and Andrew Walker, Environment Agency for kindly providing and allowing us to publish these pictures on the blog.

Eric Smethurst Volker Stevin ManagerEric Smethurst (pictured above) who kindly provided these pictures is the Project Team’s Scheme’s Liaison Manager and can be found in the Visitor Information Centre situated just above the Oyster Pond Boating Lake. If you have any ‘how-to’ questions regarding the construction of the scheme, Eric’s your man. A wealth of knowledge and a veteran of sea defence construction projects.

I have been advised by the Environment Agency that will be providing an update regarding the progress of the scheme early next week, which I’ll publish once available.

Latest Update from the Flood Defence Scheme.

A deafening silence…

Sorry, there’s been no updates on the blog (for a while now)  regarding the Environment Agency and Arun District Council’s joint £15million sea defence and public realm enhancements for Littlehampton.

I’m afraid, despite my repeated requests to the Environment Agency (since prior to Christmas) for updates, so far there has been no official response.

However, Arun District Council’s Councillor’s Paul Dendle, whose Cabinet Member Portfoli includes Engineering – Flood Defences – released this brief and somewhat bizarre statement via Twitter on 20th January 2014.

“unaware of any material delays 2 flood protection works,it was programmed 2 finish before school hols in Jul 14”

Surprising statement given the Environment Agencies previous updates regarding delays.

Furthermore, the Environment Agency’s Project Team last update reported they were now 4 weeks behind with the Pilling Schedule – this was back early December.

I fail to understand how Councillor Dendle can say that there are no material delays. However, in the absence of any other  official statement contradicting his statement, we can only conclude that officially at least, there are now no delays and all is on target to complete in July.

I did ask the Environment Agency to comment on Councillor Dendle’s announcement, but so far there’s been no response.

Previously they did provide a useful Outline of Programme of Works Document, which you can download here Outline draft programme R1_R2.

It provides a useful guide to the works taking place. And as you’d expect, states at the bottom that ‘this project is draft and is subject to change.’

Given the appalling weather, machinery problems, pilling problems, who wouldn’t be surprised that a major project like this one has slipped behind?

I certainly wouldn’t be. I’ve always said at our consultation meetings that the timescales presented were far too ambitious and unachievable for a scheme of this magnitude. More especially when those of us who live and work here understand the horrific weather we regularly have to put up with  in Pier Road.

So why no official update on the scheme’s progress?

Answering questions with deafening silence, is akin to gagging.

DSCF3157Here we are now, pictured above
Pier Road closedHere we were when then back in October 2013 when the road was closed over 3 months ago.

A dangerous Car Park and a Twitter Spat with Councillor Paul Dendle, Arun District Council

Arun District Council Car ParksThis is the muddy mess of a car park that Arun District Council have provided for visitors to Pier Road and Harbour Park.

Arun District Council Car ParkHow Arun could expect the elderly and disabled to essentially scramble through this mess is beyond me.

Arun District Council Car ParkDespite Arun District Council’s CEOs (aka traffic wardens) patrolling the South Terrace area just by Pier Road on a regular basis to whop a ticket on anyone who dares to park in the now empty and deserted South Terrace area – they made no report of how dangerous this car park was.

So is it any wonder so many weren’t using it?

Anyway, after a complaint by myself to Arun’s Chief Executive about the dangerous state of this car park, Mr Lynn’s office informs me that this Car Park has now been closed and that visitors to Pier Road can park free in the main Western Green Car Park.

How they intend to police this is anyone’s guess, but meanwhile the aggressive and over-bearing actions of their Traffic Wardens continue.

Arun District CouncilMy last post where I thought that common sense would actually prevail regarding over-attentive Traffic Wardens, was sadly misplaced. Their actions continue. Here they are providing a high visible deterrent for anyone thinking of visiting and supporting our businesses.

You could now play a game of football in the Western end of South Terrace, it’s so quiet. Yet, Arun District Council’s Traffic Wardens continue to patrol this area as if it were some dangerous hot spot.

So, if you’re visiting Pier Road, please use the free car parking area in front of the Windmill Public House.

I have asked Mr Nigel Lynn CEO of Arun for an explanation as to why given the incessant visits and patrols by his parking officers they never highlighted the very obvious and very real dangers of this car park.

I will publish his reply in a future post when available.

Meanwhile, thank you to all of you who continue to support our businesses in Pier Road. We all do appreciate your custom and I can’t say how important it is for us to get your support.

As regular customers know, we have all suffered a loss in trade, in some cases (including our own) this loss has been dramatic and substantial.

And now, to that Twitter Spat with Councillor Paul Dendle..

(you can read it on our twitter feed @pier_road)

Contrary to what Councillor Paul Dendle stated in my twitter exchange earlier, Compensation Packages have not been agreed with Pier Road Traders and these negotiations continue under what are proving to be difficult circumstances for us all.

It’s about time once and for all that the ‘compensation myth’ perpetuated by Candy Flow Towers (AKA Arun District Council) was once and for all put to death. We’re not all sitting here comfortably earning a fat compensation payment while the works continue outside our doors.

Many of us are enduring sleepless nights, worrying as to how we’ll pay our bills and, there has been Job losses.

Councillor Dendle would do well to know that prior to shooting off on Twitter with his insensitive, untrue and highly inflammatory comments.

Incidentally, I discovered that Councillor Paul Dendle is the Arun District Council Cabinet Member responsible for Flood Defences in the Arun District having heard him on the local radio. He was being interviewed by Neil Pringle from BBC Southern Counties in relation to the anger of residents in Pagham who say that their flood defences provided by Arun District Council have failed.

Given that we in Pier Road have been in consultation with Arun District Council and the Environment Agency since 2010 regarding the construction of the Sea Defences in Pier Road, I expressed my surprise that we haven’t seen Councillor Dendle at any of the Stakeholder Consultation Meetings.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable of myself to ask why the Cabinet Member for Flood Defences hasn’t attended any of the Stakeholder Consultation meetings in relation to Arun’s biggest flood defence scheme costing £15million.

Councillor Dendle’s confusing reply was to say he wasn’t invited and then blame me for not inviting him to the meetings.

Given that his council arrange and facilitate these meetings and invite us, I’m understandably confused as to why Councillor Dendle would be believe it’s my responsibility to invite him to his own council’s meeting?

I also don’t think it’s unreasonable that given the dangerous and appalling state of the above car park and the fact that he is the Cabinet Member for Car Parks that I asked him for his opinion on the state of the above Car Park.

Councillor Dendle is an elected representative and I’m astonished that he knows so little about what’s going on in relation to matters in his own Cabinet Portfolio.

I’m even more astonished that he’d take to Twitter to demonstrate this.

A bizarre exchange with Councillor Dendle followed, which you can follow on the Pier Road Twitter Feed @Pier_road.

In any event I will ensure that Councillor Dendle is invited to our next Stakeholder Consultation meeting where some of us, at least are really looking forward to meeting him.

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