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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As always, thanks for reading and do feel free to add your own views below.

Chaos in Pier Road and the sea defence works haven’t yet started.

Pier Road closedOn Saturday, Littlehampton Town proudly hosted the Freedom of the Town – a wonderful event to recognise the Royal Marines who were based in Littlehampton during 1944.

The Unit at the time was founded and commanded by Ian Flemming who later went on to create James Bond. At the time the Unit were called the 30 Assault Unit and were based in the Marine Public House, Selborne Road. The public house is now being converted into apartments, but the Marines legacy lives on.

And rather fittingly, the Town Council have granted the Marines the Freedom of the Town in a spectacular event, which took place on Saturday with a parade and a service at Littlehampton’s Caffyn’s fields.

However, in Pier Road on Saturday it was more of a charge of the Light Brigade than a celebration of the Royal Marines and Ian Flemming’s memory.

As Pier Road was closed to vehicles while the parade took place in the town centre, many motorists became irate at having their onward journey blocked and took to driving on pavements to the danger and detriment of pedestrians as they desperately tried to flee the area.

DSCF2321The silver car pictured above outside the Waterfront became so impatient that he had simply left the queue and drove down Pier Road the wrong way and then once he couldn’t get any further reversed all the way back up the same way all the time eating an ice cream. He finally managed to turn around and speed off up Pier Road shaking his head as if everyone else was to blame for his own arrogance and impatience.

The reason I’m telling you this..

Is that in a few days, Pier Road will be closed to vehicular traffic for at least six months. I’ve asked to see the Traffic Management Plan for the area during this time, and the plan I’ve seen isn’t so much a traffic management plan, but more of a traffic jam manifesto. The type that West Sussex County Council are infamous for.

You’ll be familiar with these – it involves either blocking or partially blocking a road or carriage way with a metal sign depicting a man working on a road – but no  man or men can ever be seen. Anyone who drives along the Lyminster Road at the junction with the A27 will be familiar with this arrangement.

Chaos and road rage ensues followed by the inevitable irate phone-ins on the BBC Southern Counties radio show….

Going by what we witnessed in Pier Road on Saturday, and given the lack of patience of many car drivers, I believe this is a remedy for road rage and potential accidents.

I’ve raised my concerns (prior to Saturday’s events) with the Environment Agency and to date there’s been no response.

There won’t be, of course, as nobody working on this project has ever taken the time to understand the dynamics of Littlehampton’s traffic flows and the importance of Pier Road as a primary artery in ensuring free flow of traffic.

And if you think I’m exaggerating – below is a picture of the last attempt by the Environment Agency of controlling traffic flow in Pier Road when they closed a lane for 3 weeks and quite literally chaos ensued trapping even police cars in the ensuing chaos.

Pier Road Littlehampton

Cuts by Arun District Council spark a revolt

Screams the headline in this week’s Littlehampton Gazette.

It was enough to make me reach deep into my pockets and part with the 75p it now costs to browse the week old news in our local advertiser.

In the absence of a murder, headlines like this sell newspapers.

I could scarcely wait to get back to Pier Road towers, forgoing on my way an opportunity to remonstrate with a group of the now all too familiar drunks who have taken up residence in Littlehampton town centre of late.

The small village of Balcombe got the fracking protestors, which in turn led them to getting what’s left of our much needed local police force, consequently Littlehampton town centre, with the notable absence of a local effective police force, has got a wave of drunks in doorways…

But, I diverse.

Back to the headline.

I opened the paper with increasing excitement to find out what the exact nature of this ‘revolt’ at Arun District Council was all about.

I needn’t have bothered.

A revolt at Arun District Council is about as likely as a mass walkout by terminally ill patients in hospice care.

So what’s it all about?

Well, same old story really.

Arun District Council are supposedly broke and accordingly cut backs are continuing. Now instead of targeting the residents, time to target the local councils which Arun fund.

So, wham bang slash and in a moment of death-by-powerpoint-equal-opportunity driven frenzy – Chief Executive Nigel Lynn has decreed that Arun will cut its funding to councils as follows:

First up is the biggest loser, The Town Council who are to loose all of the £147,000 that Arun pays it in subsidies every year.

Let that be a lesson to the Town Council’s clerk, Peter Herbert for writing Nigel Lynn an unpleasant letter earlier in the year where he accused him of acting unlawfully when he alleged that Nigel and a few select councillors together with the Chief Executive of Inspire Leisure conspired behind closed doors to close the Windmill cinema.

Not only that, Peter Herbert had the cheek to expect a reply – and wrote another scathing letter when no reply was forthcoming.

Never bite that hand that fees you, Peter.

Next up for Nigel’s Cash for slash – is  Rustington Parish Council set to loose a whopping great £48,000

Arundel Town Council is going to loose £12,000.

East Preston – £13,000

Yapton – £4,800.

(Yet Arun District Council have only recently commissioned yet another £12,000 Consultants Survey to look at the swimming pool)

Hey, listen, Nigel, unlike yourself I’m not fortunate enough to earn a salary circa £115,000 such as yours – and I don’t bedruge you it. But just think, if we got rid of you and replaced you with a voluntary Chief Executive, there’d be enough money to continue to pay for all the Parish councils as well as making a significant contribution to the Town Council.

All very well you saying we have to make these cuts, however, only last week you approved yet another £12,000 to be paid to consultants.

So, poor old Yapton Parish Council who I would imagine rely heavily on the relatively small £4,800 a year they get see their budget slashed. While the already affluent private consultancy industry get another £12k at our expense.

Something wrong here.

So, yes, I agree with Dr Walsh whose come out with some real impressive fighting talk in this week’s Gazette:

“In effect, Arun is stealing money due to parish and town council to stuff into its already massive reserves of £32m.” He says in this week’s Gazette.

So where can we all join the revolution?

Ah, well, we can’t.

The Revolution scheduled for the 26th October 2013 is taking the form of a Committee meeting.

Promising a night of outraged finger waving, coffee and biscuits….