Latest Update on Littlehampton’s Sea defences provided by the Environment Agency.

Hard to believe that Littlehampton’s Sea Defences are just a few days away from becoming a reality. With many confused as to what the nature of these works will be, and their effect on Pier Road, the Environment Agency and their partner, Arun District Council have provided this latest update to the Pier Road Diaries.

We’ll shortly be publishing an interview with members of the Environment Agency’s Project Team in a behind-the-scenes look at what is now Littlehampton’s biggest infrastructure investment.

And the Pier Road Diaries will be covering a pictorial and diary record of the project from start to finish – so make sign up to our Diary to keep up to date with the latest news during this exciting and innovative project.

More of that later, but here’s the latest update from the Environment Agency.

Work to improve the tidal flood defences along the East Bank of the River Arun is set to start in Pier Road, Littlehampton this month. The £14.5 million partnership scheme includes the building of a new tidal river wall to protect over 2000 residential properties and businesses against 100 years of predicted sea level rise. It will also vastly improve the walkway along the riverside, creating an attractive pedestrian route between the town and the beach.

 Work to the flood wall will be complemented by design work which will raise the promenade, enhancing the views across the river. Careful planning has also gone into ensuring that the new promenade has wide visual appeal through the use of improved lighting, tree planting and attractive seating areas.  The materials have been carefully chosen to preserve the coastal identity of Littlehampton whilst being robust enough to endure the exposed conditions.

 The scheme, which includes flood defences from the lighthouse on the Promenade to north of the A259, is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The project is a partnership between the Environment Agency, Arun District Council,  West Sussex County Council, Littlehampton Harbour Board and Littlehampton Town Council, all of whom have worked together to ensure the plans will deliver maximum benefit in terms of both flood defence and environmental improvements.

 Whilst Pier Road and Arun Parade will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the works and re-opening in May 2014 and July 2014 respectively, pedestrian access to both will be maintained throughout the construction of the scheme. Businesses will remain open as usual throughout the works and visitors will be able to access the shops and kiosks on Pier Road and Arun Parade as normal. Free parking only for customers of Pier Road shops, restaurants and Harbour Park will be made available by Arun District Council in the sign-posted part of the West Green Car Park from Monday 21 October 2013.

 Councillor Dendle, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, speaking on behalf of Arun District Council, said: “It will be very exciting to watch this project unfold.  We are all looking forward to seeing the end result which we believe will be a significant improvement to the promenade area between the seafront and the Town centre.  As well as protecting the many properties which would previously have been at risk of tidal river flooding, we hope that these improvements will attract more visitors and tourists to the area and provide a more enjoyable experience for local residents. It brings to fruition Arun’s long held aspiration of having a high quality, uninterrupted pedestrian link between the Town centre and the sea front.”

 David Robinson, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Operations Manager, said:“This is a major landmark in this important flood defence scheme. We are very keen to work with residents and businesses throughout this project and I would like to thank them in advance for their patience and understanding whilst these construction works take place.”

 An information office and notice boards will be set up on site for businesses and visitors to the area to find out more about the scheme and to be kept informed of its progress.  Further information will also be available at our website

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/littlehamptoneastbank

or by contacting the project team on 08708 506 506 or by email at littlehamptoneastbank@environment-agency.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

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

Work begins on Littlehampton’s Stage by The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton's Stage By The Sea

Winning Design for Littlehampton’s Stage By The Sea

Good news for Pier Road and Littlehampton’s seafront as the work to create Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea gets underway.

The project was due to begin earlier in the year, suffered what Littlehampton Town Council described as ‘unavoidable delays’, but is now underway.

The innovative structure is being created where the original Littlehampton Band Stand used to be just above the Bango Road Car Park.

Earlier this week, (1st October 2013) the bulldozers moved in and cleared the original site which had been a quiet picturesque garden. Only lady I spoke to described it as ‘vandalism’, she said. ‘I don’t know what the council is doing,’ she said. ‘We have this monstrosity (pointing to the East Beach Cafe), then this (pointing to the longest bench) and now this..’

Often in Littlehampton it’s difficult to find a fan of the recent seafront structures – the East Beach Cafe, the World’s Longest Bench and the new seafront shelters, but I must admit to being a fan.

I love them all and can’t wait to see the new Stage by the Sea completed.

Stage by the Sea siteThe site where Littlehampton’s Stage by the Sea is being created.

The project, funded and managed by Littlehampton Town Council is in part response to demands by locals for a bandstand to be re-instated. The Stage by the Sea is a modern take on the old band stand and this exciting building when completed will also act as a seafront shelter, and apparently be so low on one side that you can walk over it.

Cue the skateboarders, rollerbladders and the Littlehampton’s Gazettes prolific letter writers who I can imagine will out in force objecting to what will be seen in their view as yet another ‘modern eyesore with health and safety risks.’

Yet it’s good to see that Littlehampton is forging ahead with some bold and innovative projects such as this. There’s no doubt that Littlehampton seafront provides an excellent location for concerts and events and with this new stage, we can really forge ahead in attracting some exciting events.

Stage by the Sea Littlehampton Sea frontLittlehampton Town Council’s Site Notice giving a useful update on the project.

It’s expected to be finished by November and operational by the New Year.

Stage by the Sea LittlehamptonThe site being prepared to build Littlehampton seafront’s latest attraction  – Stage by the Sea.