Littlehampton Seafront overtaken by Travellers

UPDATED 30TH July 2013 – 3.30pm

Arun District Council have made the following short public announcement via their website:

Littlehampton Travellers Update

Arun District Council have obtained an Order for Possession of the land which stipulates that the travellers must leave the site immediately. Officers from the Private Sector Housing and Public Health Team have served these papers on the travellers who we expect to have moved from the site within 24 hours.

END/

I must ask – why when the Council go to all the expense of obtaining a Possession Order which states that the Travellers must vacate the site immediately, do Arun District Council insist in now allowing them up to 24 hours?

And what about the costs?

Arun District Council’s brief and in my view, wholly inadequate public statement makes no mention as to whether or not Arun District Council have applied to the courts for the travellers to cover the costs of their eviction and any associated clean up charges and repairs to the damaged perimeter fencing.

UPDATED 29th July 2013.

(Original account/early version of this post continues below – but here are some updated pictures of Littlehampton Seafront and Greensward)

Numbers have now grown from the original arrivals – hardly surprising as Arun District Council have adopted a hands-off approach refusing to take any proactive initiative in preventing further arrivals – and quite honestly are encouraging lawlessness. A number of local residents and visitors have phoned Sussex police complaining about youngsters tearing up down Littlehampton seafront on Quad bikes and Motor bikes – however this dangerous and entirely unacceptable behaviour has been allowed to continue.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront 7

Youngsters tear around the green area on motorbikes and quad bikes seemingly immune from any police or council intervention.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront update 3The green is now a dangerous no-go area as youngsters roar around on motor bikes.

Travellers Littlehampton Seafront update 5Reckless and dangerous behaviour goes unchallenged while a few awards away – dog owners are warned by Arun District Council officers that dogs are not permitted on the beach area at this time of the year.

Kite boarding bannedKite Boarding is banned, however! A few year’s ago Arun District Council decreed that in the interests of Health and Safety, Kiteboarding on the greensward was prohibited and signs were duly erected. I complained at the time saying that we should be welcoming such sports, however, the ever-safety conscious bureaucrats at Arun District Council maintained that legally if someone was hit by a kiteboarder that the council would be responsible..

Such double standards are unacceptable and as residents we should  be seeing robust action taken against lawbreakers. But we’re not seeing anything on this front other than an impotent District Council whose senior management is clearly incapable of preventing situations such as these.

Travellers littlehampton Seafront updateNumbers have grown significantly since my first report and there are indications that more on their way.

Travellers Littlehampton Seafront Update 4All sorts of business activities are now been run from Littlehampton Seafront seemingly immune from any official intervention.

Original Account from when the Travellers first arrived.

I witnessed the most bizarre and in my view, entirely unacceptable picture as Arun District Council Officers stood at a safe distance from the situation before retreating out of the area.

Entry to Littlehampton Seafront had been gained by breaking down the perimeter fence.

Not a difficult feat given the appalling state of Arun District Council’s seafront fences. I have previously complained to ADC that the fences were both in adequate and in a semi-derelict state. This has been refuted by the Council who insist the fences are in excellent condition.

Mr Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive of Arun District Council told me yesterday that his officers had checked the fences prior to the arrival of the travellers, and the council’s view they were both secure and adequate.

I believe the pictures tell a different story, Mr Croad.

Arun District Council seafront fencesRotten posts supporting a rotten fence at Littlehampton Seafront – this is what Mr Croad describes as ‘secure and adequate’.

Arun District Council seafront fences rottenArun District Council SeafrontAbove is the gate to the seafront area prised open. You can see the lock hanging below. Four rusty nails was all that was holding this together to defend the seafront greensward from being occupied.

Arun District Council regenerationNo more than a swift kick would be needed to fell this fence.

Arun District Council leisure strategyRegardless of the current problem the above poses a serious hazard to small children and members of the public and shows how easy it is for anyone to kick their way into Littlehampton’s seafront/greensward.

As I arrived on the seafront as the caravans were flooding in through the broken gap, an Arun District Council Van was speeding away from the scene and I was shocked to see that the gap in the fence, which had been deliberately broken, wasn’t being blocked up temporarily by an Arun District Council vehicle.

If I wasn’t travelling by bicycle, I’d have pulled my own van in front of the gap.

I phoned Arun District Council’s Office and spoke to Mr Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive. He’s assured me that if someone comes forward who witnessed anyone damaging the fence, he will ensure that those identified are prosecuted.

Meanwhile though, he explained that Arun would not be taking any preventative action in blocking up the gap as this would he believed lead to a potential Public Order event.

When I informed him that while I was there I witnessed many incensed people standing watching anarchy take place without any of the authorities taking any action – he assured me this wasn’t the case and lawlessness was not being allowed to prevail in Littlehampton.

I beg to differ, Mr Croad.

When you allow one section of society act unlawfully without being challenged while your officers busy themselves elsewhere slapping £65 parking tickets on local residents who’ve parked legally, but overstayed the maximum 2 hours allowed by your Council – I’d say you have a problem.

Then I discover that Arun District Council have actually taken immediate action – not the one that you’d expect or imagine but they’ve – wait for it –  dispatched Council Officers to undertake welfare checks on our new arrivals.

I wonder what local tax payer could expect such favorable treatment?

Travellers in LittlehamptonBroken FenceThe Gap in the fence where the travellers are getting in remains open and Arun District Council have refused to place a vehicle across it to block the gap up. This action would in my view, prevent further from arriving, but this isn’t of concern to Arun District Council who already are checking on the welfare of the travellers.

As I stood watching the travellers driving on to the green unchallenged, I noticed these two men who were wearing what appeared to be Arun District Council Badges.

Council Officers

ADCSAll this standing around doing nothing is clearly too much for one of them who takes the opportunity to sit on the fence – pretty much a replica of what his senior management are doing back at Candy Floss Towers -aka Arun District Council’s Civic Centre.

I have continually said to officers from Arun District Council over the past two years that the security measures to prevent such instances were inadequate. They disagreed and any useful suggestion that I offered in how they could reduce the risk of these events taking place, were refuted as being unnecessary.

Travellers Littlehampton seafront

Vehicles rushing in through the open gap. However, there’s no hurry as Arun District Council have no intention of blocking the gap and preventing further from arriving.

Broken FenceSeafront LittlehamptonLittlehampton SeafrontMeanwhile, Arun’s Parking Enforcement Officers are ensuring legally parked cars aren’t overstaying the one hour free parking allowed.

Arun District Council parking wardens.The above photograph is in Pier Road where free one-hour parking is available. A favourite place for Arun District Council’s parking wardens to wait and pounce a ticket on anyone who inadvertently overstays the maximum one-hour allowed.

Arun District Council traffic wardens