Arun District Council’s Sea Front Car Park Charges

Earlier this year, Arun District Council announced it’s intention to increase the parking charges in Littlehampton seafront. This a popular place for our visitors to park. The increases proposed were to increase the 1 hour charge by double, from £1 to £2.

4 hours will cost you a staggering £7  – thus making parking in Littlehampton’s seafront more expensive than parking in Chichester.

We had the usual mandatory consultation announced in the local papers.

There were of course several sensible, well-made objections from local business owners opposing the increases, but in true form at Arun District Council, where consultation seems to be seen more of a necessary tiresome mandatory process, the outcome was already a foregone conclusion, and  up went the prices.

But it’s not car parking charges that are the only thing that has gone up in Littlehampton Seafront as the picture below shows.

Arun District Council car parkingOK, so Arun District Council increase Littlehampton’s seafront car park charges, but fail to cut the grass. The picture above was taken on the May Bank Holiday weekend, a weekend when the above car park was full of cars – all paying premium prices to park here and this is the state of the car park.

Arun District Counci Car parkingForget the bucket and spade, bring your own machete  when coming to park in Littlehampton’s Seafront Car Parks – £7 for 4 hours in the long grass and uneven, gravely surface.

Surely it wouldn’t take much imagination or forward thinking on their behalf to work out that if you’re going to charge more for car parking, you should at least ensure that the car park is up to a suitable standard?

Combine this with a number of Arun District Council’s run-down buildings and it’s not difficult to see why Littlehampton is failing to attract the numbers it used to.

There was  a time when council’s took pride in their area and environments and full credit must go to Littlehampton Town Council who continually impress with their splendid beautifully maintained buildings and gardens.

What a shame it is that Arun District Council can’t get the basics right.

Arun District Council 3I wonder how much it would cost in consultant’s fees to advise Arun District Council that cutting the long grass might be a good idea in an effort not only to attract new visitors to our seafront, but retain those we so desperately need to keep?

The Miracle of Littlehampton Harbour

Littlehampton Harbour and river is the only harbour in the world to have intelligent water.

The EA’s sea defence proposals only include building on one side of the harbour and river, this being the East Side.

Therefore, full credit must be given to the Environment Agency for working out that the water flowing in and out of Littlehampton harbour via the river mouth will know which side to rise up on (East Side) and which side to avoid (West Side).

After all it would be crying shame if given the £13 million spend on sea defences that the water took it upon itself to flood the side where the Environment Agency haven’t carried out any sea defences.

I mean could you imagine for a moment the red faces at the Environment Agency where in between having to chase off out-of-season fishing men, collecting fishing rod licence fees and consulting tiresome local business owners, the EA were to realise that that everywhere else in the world, water rises on both sides of rivers and harbours. And that as they haven’t as much as provided a token rubber hose in their plans for the West Side of the river and harbour that this side will now be more prone to flooding.

Rest easy dear reader, I’ve no doubt that with the combined great engineering might of the EA Project Team and their expensive consulting engineers at Halcrow, that this potential flaw in their proposed plans hasn’t been addressed.

In fact, there can only be one explanation for this phenomenon:

That Littlehampton river and harbour is the subject of a miracle where we have the only intelligent sea water in the world that can independently discriminate on which side of the river/habour it should rise on so as not to make the Environment Agency and their engineers look silly.

To be fair, a similar thing happened before in biblical times.

Littlehampton Sea defences

Of course, now that we have intelligent water  running through Littlehampton harbour, we can look forward to a bright and prosperous future where given time we could become the next Lourdes, or at a push, Knock in Ireland.

Where we will be welcoming busloads of tired, weary and hungry pilgrims who have come to pay special homage to Littlehampton harbour to witness for themselves this intelligent water.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Miracle

WEEK 5:  INTELLIGENT WATER DISCOVERED IN LITTLEHAMPTON HARBOUR.

Of course, it could be (dare I say it, but I feel I must..) that the Environment Agency haven’t discovered intelligent water in Littlehampton harbour and that their efforts to enhance the East Bank Sea Defences will have a disastrous and potentially fatal effect on the mostly unprotected East Side of the River..

I’m not an engineer but I’d imagine that if you built out and up one side of a fast flowing river bank without making any provision on the other side that this activity would have a deferential effect on the unprotected side?

Some of us with a bit of experience of previous government initiatives, particularly in times of recession, will appreciate the perils of State-led, target driven capital expenditure projects and will dismiss the idea that this is a miracle.

I’d expect disbelievers will face being ostracised as being ‘negative thinkers’ and labelled ‘troublemakers’ finding themselves being denied invites to consultation meetings with all their death-by-powerpoint presentations, dry biscuits and urn coffee and misleading information.

If I were either a resident or business owner located on the West Side of Littlehampton harbour or river, I’d be pretty worried about the increasingly serious risk of getting wet feet and seeing my home and business disappear as one part of the Littlehampton town is pitted against the other as sea levels continue to rise.

Environment Agency Sea DefencesAbove is a picture of the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour taken during Spring Tides. As you can see, the water is almost at footpath level. Now look across the river at the other side where the river is already flooding over the existing sea defences. The Environment Agency Sea Defence Plans – cost circa £13 million will not include any work to the other side.

I don’t think you need to be an engineer, coastal or otherwise, to work out that by dramatically building out the existing wall, and significantly increasing its height, these actions will have an equally dramatic effect on the other side.

LittlehamptonYou can see from the above picture that the East Side (right hand side) is already significantly higher than the West Side. If you look again at the picture above this one, you’ll see that the area where the two people are walking is flooded. The size of the area that’s flooded is quite remarkable.

I going to question why £13 million of tax payers money is being spent to build a wall on one side, and nothing on the other?

I asked this question previously at a consultation meeting with the EA Project Team and Arun District Council Officers back in the Autumn of 2012. We were assured by the Project Manager that there was no problem with this arrangement, and we were promised to be shown some mock-ups of how the water would flow. Talk of University students and mock-ups in tanks followed. But of course, to-date we’ve been shown nothing.

Time will tell, of course, whose right.

But I cannot see how building a wall on one of side of what is now regarded as the UK’s fastest flowing river without taking any remedial action to the other side, could be classified as sea defences, unless of course, you disregard the West Side completely as being unworthy of being defended or this is a simply another government project to build out way of recession.

No more building roads and houses. The former is too anti the ‘green’ agenda. The latter too reminiscent of greedy developers and banks, so instead let’s build some walls on one side of the river at a whopping great cost of £13 million and call it sea defences.

A bit like going out wearing only one shoe..

Every little bit hurts!

There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason so many businesses are now closing up in Littlehampton Town Centre is a direct result of the over-expansion of supermarkets.

Arun District Council Regeneration

Even Blockbusters which was a great asset to the town centre has closed its door and will be replaced by a Morrisons supermarket.

This, despite the fact that Morrisons have only recently opened up a new, large, state of the art supermarket complex on the entrance to Littlehampton.

Arun District Council Regeneration Plans

No opportunity is missed by the big supermarkets to advertise their aggressiveness as the above picture taken in Littlehampton Town Centre shows.

Here we have yet another vacant shop premises, the grave of town centre retailing seen as an advertising opportunity for ASDAs

So who is to blame for Littlehampton’s town centre’s freefall into degeneration?

There’s no doubt in my mind that Arun District Council have danced merrily with the big supermarket chains holding the cash-filled hands of Mr Morrisons, Mr Tescos and Madam Asdas by granting planning permissions for shops the size of city airports in return for a wad full of cash – agreements they euphemistically refer to as ‘Section 106 Agreements’ but could only be considered as bribes by any right minded person.

The first £60,000 of S106 Agreement monies from Morrisons in return for the out of town planning permissions was swiftly handed over to one of the Council’s Consultants to further study the building of a in-town shopping centre for which Arun District Council has no money to build.

Meanwhile, local shops are closing. Footfall is falling daily now as shoppers desert Littlehampton town centre in favour of out of town giant retail complexes.

Arun District Council RegenerationIconic Body Shop’s Littlehampton retail premises will close its doors later this month. A sad day, given that the late Dame Anita Roddick established her worldwide retail success here in Littlehampton. While Body Shop HQ thankfully remains in Littlehamton – ironically one of their factory buildings is now home to the new Morrisons.

Arun District Council Regeneration

The above shop, Mark Kimber shoes closed just before Christmas.

Arun-20130301-00126Shoe-2-Boot – closed also and as usual the property landlords see no need in giving the place a lick of paint. Far better to leave it as a standing testament to the ongoing and continuing degeneration of a once viable, vibrant town.

Who would have thought that shoe shops would be a thing of the past?

Stead and SimpsonHave a quick look at what a shoe shop once looked like. Save the picture for your children and grandchildren to muse over in years to come as shoe-shops become a thing of the past.

Yet, Arun District Council’s commitment to be as supermarket-friendly as ever continues unabated as the ‘regeneration team’ at Arun District Council ensure that not only more supermarkets are given planning permissions to open stores, but existing ones are allowed to expand, quite literally to the size of small towns.

And as for Arun District Council’s supposed commitment to regeneration, some pictures below follow of one of Arun District Council’s buildings which has been allowed to deteriorate into an unsightly mess.

Arun District Council building 1

The above picture is one of  Arun District Council’s buildings.

It’s joined to the Town Council’s main building. The Town Council’s building which you can see below is always beautifully presented, painted and great care and attention taken with the gardens and is a very popular with weddings, civil partnerships as well as housing a splendid museum.

But what impression are Arun District Council giving with their dilapidated building?

Surely it doesn’t take a team of consultants to get Arun District Council up off their well-paid backsides and give their building a lick of paint, and a new pane of glass, which would at least give the impression that Littlehampton isn’t some sort of slum destination, which it certainly isn’t.

Arun-20130305-00233

Note the differences.

1. The derelict eyesore belongs to Arun District Council compete with boarded up door.

2. The well-kept, beautifully presented building alongside belongs to the Town Council.

3. Arun District Council trump and shout as loud as they can about regenerating Littlehampton, but yet can’t or won’t see that they are in many ways helping promote degeneration and decline by failing to look after their own buildings.

4. Arun District Council has recently used its enforcement powers to tackle property owners who allow their properties fall into a derelict and unacceptable state blighting neighborhoods. I agree with their actions, but why haven’t they sorted out their own buildings also?

Arun District Council 3

But it doesn’t just stop at buildings.

Arun District Council Signs

Here’s an Arun District Council seafront sign which clearly has either seen better days, or, which is more likely was created and designed by someone who underestimated the seafront elements.

FOOTNOTE:

An excellent posting on Supermarkets has been posted in the comments section to this Article, just below.

To make sure it’s not missed, you can read it here.