Will the Environment Agency ever finish Littlehampton’s Flood Defences?

Despite spending in excess of £22.5million on flood defences in Littlehampton Harbour, the Environment Agency still have not completed the flood defence works – and a massive gap still remains in the new flood defence wall.

Hard to believe, that it was back in September 2012, the Environment Agency began constructing Littlehampton’s flood defence scheme. Yet, here we are, early 2017 and Littlehampton still hasn’t been protected from flooding.

Despite assurances made at the start of the project by Environment Agency Manager David Robinson and his colleagues, that their extensive, disruptive  works would ensure Littlehampton was protected from a future flooding event, a large flood-friendly gap has been left in the new flood defence wall.

As you can see in the above picture, a barge was commissioned to complete the works along this side of the River Road’s riverside frontage. My understanding is, that the Environment Agency are holding the landowner responsible for paying for the works to this particular stretch of the riverbank. However, the landowner disputes their liability.

Regardless of who is responsible, surely the sensible approach would have been for the Environment Agency’s contractors to have completed this remaining section of the flood defences while their contractors were already in the river area working on the flood defences and arguing liability at a later date?

Surely the potential costs of clearing up after a flooding event, far outweigh the savings made by leaving a gap in the flood defences? Given that the equipment needed to construct a flood defence wall in a harbour environment are expensive, to say the least – the costs of now returning to bridge this gap will be far in excess of the costs that would have been involved in making good the wall when the EA’s contractors were already in place.

In any event, at the time, the Environment Agency decided to withdraw their contractors, leaving the area with the massive gap you see in the above picture,  leaving a number of giant sandbags, (which can be seen in the picture)to be used in the event of a flooding crisis.

How can a government funded quango spend over £22.5m on creating what were described at the time as being ‘state of the art’ and we’re left with a number of giant sand bags to save the town from flooding?

More importantly, why have the local authorities who were partners in this project (primarily – Arun District Council, West Sussex County Council) remained silent on the situation and not demanded a remedy?

I’ve asked David Robinson, manager at the Environment Agency for an update on what they’re intending to do to bridge the gap and complete the flood defences that were promised.

I have also written to my MP Nick Gibb (Littlehampton MP) asking for his intervention.

I will update the blog with any replies, in the meantime I’d urge you to write to Nick Gibb, MP for Littlehampton to bring pressure on the Environment Agency to undertake and complete their statutory duties.

Nick Gibb MP, can be emailed at:  gibbn@parliament.uk

When I previously raised this issue back in 2016 – this story was taken up by the BBC including featuring on BBC South East News with Sean Killick, BBC Radio Sussex and other media outlets. At the time, David Robinson, Manager at the Environment Agency gave assurances that a permanent solution would be achieved.

We’re still waiting, Mr Robinson.


As always, thanks for reading, your comments welcome.

Paul

 

 

 

Travellers now occupying Littlehampton Seafront Car Park

Updated – Travellers left Littlehampton on Sunday 27th November and last seen heading along the A27 past Chichester towards Portsmouth area.

Littlehampton’s Banjo Road, seafront car park is now home to a large number of travellers. All vehicles have foreign registration marks, which include a Bentley and other expensive luxury cars.Littlehampton car parkEasy access to the seafront car park as Arun District Council had left the height barriers open. The height barrier installed to prevent such trespasses.

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This Bentley amongst the high quality, expensive cars that have arrived towing large caravans.

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The scene this morning where a large number of travellers have gained entry to Littlehampton’s seafront car park.

I’ve reported on these trespasses before on my blog and I highlighted the complete disregard that Arun District Council take in preventing these occurrences. Illegal trespasses which cost the local tax payer significant money in evicting them as well as the problems created by their presence.

On this occasion Arun District Council left the car park’s height barrier open, which if closed would have prevented their gaining entry.

Sussex Police are on scene with two police cars and a number of uniformed police officers.

Littlehampton travellers

Sussex police officers talking to caravan owners who just arrived in Littlehampton.

Arun District Council bylaws forbid overnight camping in seafront car parks or anywhere on the council’s seafront greensward.


As always, thanks for reading, comments welcome.

Littlehampton Town Centre Drunks

Anyone else had enough?

On Saturday 5th March 2016, I shopped in Littlehampton town centre as I regularly do.

However my visit was marred by the ongoing drunken arguments and abuse by Littlehampton’s town centre resident drunks.

If you visit the town, you’ll be familiar with them.

They cluster in areas, drinking, swearing, spitting and fighting.

Their behaviour isn’t just unacceptable, it’s criminal.

Yet, despite the very obvious ongoing public order offences committed by these people, Sussex police seem reluctant to do anything about them.

For example, I attended a meeting last year where the problem was discussed by the authorities including Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. One of the solutions was to involve the homeless charity ‘Stone Pillow’.

Actions such as arresting and prosecuting offenders didn’t seem to feature on the agenda.

It was all about ‘working with these people to achieve positive outcomes’, we were told.

I wonder if I’d stood up at the meeting and directed at Ms Bourne and her colleagues some of the verbal abuse that many of us have been subjected to in the town centre, would she been so keen on working with me to achieve positive outcomes?

Wonder how she’d cope with being called a ‘ f….ing fat, ugly bitch, as one of my partially-sighted relatives was called recently when she accidentally  strayed into the path of one of our town centre’s female drunks?

Needless to say, my relative now shops elsewhere.

As for the view that these people are somehow homeless.

These people all live in well-appointed accommodation in and around Littlehampton, paid for by the local tax payer. One things for sure,when they’re not causing bother in the town centre, they’re making a great success of it where they live.

Of course their well-heeled landlords,  most of whom don’t live in Littlehampton, are far enough away to be not bothered by their tenants anti-social behaviour.

Ask yourself, why is it these drunks aren’t plaguing Rustington town centre, or Arundel town centre?

It’s because Littlehampton is where they’ve been housed.

Littlehampton has long being the favourite dumping ground for Arun’s social problems.

And as long as the out-of-town decision-making Councillors continue to grant planning permissions to Littlehampton landlords to turn family-sized homes into bedsits, this problem will continue.

Across the road from my home, I once witnessed a woman being dragged by her hair by a drunken man who then forced his way into the property where she lived (a HMO) by shoving his fist through the glass.

At the time this particular HMO was home to a number of serious undesirables.

It was late at night. My partner and I phoned the police, who to their credit arrived within minutes, arrested the offender, while the woman was taken to hospital.

We gave a statement at the time only for the perpetrator to be released the following morning without being charged. The police didn’t think of telling us and the first we knew was when the man began stalking us outside our front window. This went on for a number of months with no police intervention and harassment included late-night drunks urinating in our doorway, our car vandalised, beer bottles thrown against our wall along with some pretty vile verbal abuse being directed at us.

It ended when he and his friends left.

The offenders were in control all the time. Just as they are now in Littlehampton town centre.

These people don’t just cause problems in town centres; they blight lives and communities.

Arun District Council have finally announced a solution to the problem.

An alcohol ban for the town centre.

But didn’t they previously introduce an alcohol restriction zone, which has been mostly unenforceable owing to lack of resources?

I imagine it will be as successful as their folly in employing dog poo enforcement officers who managed to go a whole term without issuing any penalties.

Yet, Arun District Council hailed it a huge success.


As always, thanks for reading, please do make any comments below and remember to sign up to my Littlehampton Live Newsletter here.