Update on the Littlehampton Ferry.

Littlehampton Ferry

I previously reported that it was doubtful that Littlehampton’s Ferry would be running this year. I understood (wrongly as it turned out..) that this was owing to the lack of suitable pontoon space and landing area. The original pontoon having been removed to facilitate the construction of Littlehampton’s Flood defences.

However, I now have it on good authority that the Environment Agency’s Contractors – VolkerStevin were very concerned to hear that their construction works would potentially hamper the running of Littlehampton’s Ferry. Consequently they’ve now offered to provide a suitable pontoon area and landing area from which the ferry could operate from.

I understand that this offer has been declined.

Full credit must be given to VolkerStevin for coming up with this offer and making every attempt to facilitate the operation of our ferry.

But why isn’t the Littlehampton ferry going to run this year?

My understanding is that the ferry has never actually made any money and was in a loss making situation. No surprises here as the reason the original ferry operation was discontinued is a result of ongoing losses.

Some years ago when I was running the Oyster Pond boating lake on behalf of Arun District Council I looked into re-launching the Littlehampton Ferry. At that time I undertook a feasibility study, which included talking with the previous ferry’s operators – Littlehampton Harbour board and I couldn’t see how the ferry could be made to work without substantial public subsidies.

Whatever the reasons for the non-operation of the Littlehampton ferry, it’s important to clarify that the non-operation is not as a result of the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences. And, every effort has been made by the Environment Agency’s Sea Defence Contractor, VolkerStevin to accommodate it, should it be re-instated.

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#Littlehampton Sea Defence update

Work is really flying along now in Pier Road as the Environment Agency’s Contractor VolkerStevin makes steady progress.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 4

Pictured above is how Pier Road junction with Arun Parade is now looking – the crane has moved South along Pier Road and you can just see the tops of the recently installed piles rising above the height of the road. Don’t forget to click on the pictures to expand them to give a better view.

Flood Defences 4

This was the scene only a couple of weeks ago when VolkerStevin were building the shingle ramp to enable the crane to access the especially created crane bridge.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 5

The 130 tonne Crane is now pretty much of out sight of the junction with South Terrace. Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison Manager tells me that they’re still on target to complete the piling in Pier Road sometime in May, which is good news.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 1

This is the scene now in Pier Road  – a hive of activity and it’s fascinating to watch the piling up close. We’re getting lots of visitors to Pier Road who are interested in the engineering side of things. Do remember if you’re coming to see the works, search out Eric Smethurst in the visitor centre just by the Oyster Pond. Eric’s visitor centre is full of interesting drawings and facts about the project.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 3

This is what the area beneath the piling looks like close-up. You can see that the contractors are backfilling the area behind the recently installed piles with shingle. This is as I understand it, to ensure that the piles are kept in place to allow the crane bridge sit on them as it drives along Pier Road.

Littlehampton Sea Defences 6

Quite a sight – the crane sitting high above Pier Road on its platform as it drives the next batch of piles in.

Crane Bridge

Photographs can be a bit misleading when it comes to the sheer size of the crane and its specially created ‘crane bridge or platform’. Click on the above picture and you  get a sense of just how big it is. This bridge sits with one half on Pier Road and the other half sits (quite amazingly) on the piles they’ve just installed.

Piling gate

Above is a picture of the piling gate being made ready for the next batch of piles. Once each batch of piles are successfully driven into the river bed, the gate has to be reassembled and then rebuilt to take the next batch. Easy to see why this isn’t a quick process and more importantly, why there can be no reliable completion date as there are so many factors which will determine its progress.

If you missed the video of the crane mounting the bridge, I’ve now managed to get it uploaded to the site and it features below.

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Littlehampton RNLI Rescue by “Blue Peter 1”

Littlehampton’s RNLI is a very busy station.

Each year they handle lots of calls ranging from stranded dogs to sadly, deaths at sea.

Here’s a few pictures from one of their rescues last weekend (15h March 2014) to a stricken motor vessel.

RNLI Littlehampton 7

The Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat “Blue Peter 1”  being launched from the RNLI’s station in Littlehampton Harbour. Blue Peter is an Atlantic 75 Lifeboat. Her twin 70hp outboard motors give her a maximum speed of 30 knots and she has a self-righting system in the event of a capsize.

RNLI Littlehampton 1

Safely launched, Blue Peter 1 turns towards the harbour entrance and the power is on to get out to the emergency as soon as possible.

RNLI Littlehampton 2

Photographing Blue Peter 1 as it leaves the harbour isn’t easy as it quite literally rockets past. Good news if you’re the unfortunate ones relying on its assistance.

RNLI Littlehampton 3

The blue flashing light indicates it’s not a training exercise.

RNLI Littlehampton 4

Before long it’s out of the harbour.

Then returns with the stricken vessel alongside where it puts the boat back on it’s original mooring. I understand that this call was to an engine failure. The seas off Littlehampton can be quite treacherous and an engine failure can potentially be catastrophic in the confused and fast running harbour entrance.

RNLI Littlehampton 5

Safely back in the calm and shelter of Littlehampton Harbour.

The RNLI at Littlehampton are always on the look out for volunteers, whether this be crewing or to help with onshore activities including fundraising – just pop into the station a friendly chat. Or visit their Website for further information.

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