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Arun District Council Regeneration plans for Littlehampton

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Not good news, I’m afraid.

I understand that the operator of Littlehampton’s Miniature railways has pulled out of Littlehampton, sold his rolling stock and ceased his operation.

The miniature railway which has been a long standing and much loved feature of Littlehampton’s East Beach area, will no doubt be sorely missed. Loved by old and young, alike.

Running from the putting green cafe to Mewsbrook park, the train has been an established feature of Littlehampton life for many years now, albeit having changed ownership over the past few years.

I’m not sure of the reasons why the operated has pulled out, but I have seen correspondence that suggests a breakdown between the concession holder and Arun District Council.

In any event, it very much appears that the operator has now sold his train and rolling stock and that as they say, is the end of that.

October last year a feature appeared in the Littlehampton Gazette where the train operator’s staff were concerned at being made redundant by their employer. However, their employer (the owner of the train and Arun District Council concession holder) made it clear that making the redundant was necessary as they were seasonal employees.

A shame, a real shame.

Meanwhile, Arun District Council are planning to increase Littlehampton’s seafront car parking charges by over 200%.

If the plans go ahead, the current charge (during July and August) will go from £6 for 2 hours plus to a whopping great £10.

And, your tenner will buy you a space as pictured below.

Arun District Counci Car parking

Would you be happy paying £10 to park in the above for £10?

My understanding from reading through Arun District Council’s proposed car parking increases is that the council have no plans to improve the already unacceptable car park conditions in Littlehampton seafront or to upgrade Littlehampton’s seafront toilets.

It’s amazing that given Arun District Council oversaw a £22.5m seafront regeneration scheme, that neither the existing public toilets or the public car park were deemed as being in need of regeneration.

You can see Arun District Council’s proposed car parking charges increase on Arun’s website here.

Tourism is a competitive business and my view is Arun District Council are in danger of pricing us out of the market. We also desperately need for Arun District Council to work at attracting and retaining concession holders and create modern, practical, usable seafront facilities.


As always, thanks for reading, comments welcome.

Be sure to sign up (if you haven’t already)  to Littlehampton Live’s regular newsletter, which you can do here.

The lion that is Arun District Council’s planning department, has roared.

Well actually, growled softly.

Or to be more accurate, waved it’s furry paws at the supermarket giant, Morrissons – for their continued failure to comply with the conditions of their planning consents.

This story dates back to April 2012 when Morrissons applied to Arun District Council to build a new supermarket on what was the old Body Shop’s premises. Arun District Council’ Planning department granted Morrissions permission to build, on the basis that Morrissons would include an ‘Enterprise Hub’ as part of their store.

The Enterprise hub was to provide offices for small businesses to rent for up to 200 employees.

The planning consent stipulated the Enterprise Hub must be completed prior to the store opening.

Unsurprisingly, Morrissons ignored the planning stipulation and opened their new store and failed to provide an Enterprise Hub.

Meanwhile Arun District Council’s Planning department, somewhat surprisingly, let them get away with it.

Until now (some 3 years later) when Mr Karl Roberts, Arun District Council’s Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration, has finally roared into life and written to Morrissons advising them they must comply with the conditions of their planning consents.

Mr Roberts is unapologetic in his harsh approach to Morrissons.

” The council doesn’t take enforcement action lightly but it is important that planning rules and procedure is followed correctly.” he says. ” I hope Morrisons will take swift measures to remedy the situation otherwise the council will need to consider further action.”

Enforcement action, Mr Roberts?

What enforcement action?

You’ve finally got off your backside after 3 long years and done what exactly?

Written a letter.

How about comparing your so called ‘enforcement action’ against Morrissons supermarket, to someone whose parked legally in an Arun District Council car park, paid for parking but returned later than they’ve paid for. Here your council’s enforcement action slaps the ‘offender’ with an instant £70 fine.

Unlike your council’s treatment of Morrissons, there’s no ignoring an overstayer in one of Arun District Council’s car parks. Or of course if you’re unfortunate enough to be late in sending your monthly council tax payment to Arun District Council expect to get a demand from the council that you now pay all your council tax in advance.

Or how about the classic Arun District Council enforcement action, as demonstrated by Nigel Croad, Deputy Chief Executive at an Arun District Council planning meeting in 2013?

This really is a classic. A  meeting of Arun District Council’s planning committee where the public have been invited to attend.

However, as Arun District Council underestimated the level of public interest, they failed to provide enough room for those in attendance and a large section of the public were debarred from taking part.

Mr Croad’s response is to bait the crowd by accusing them of being silly. Of course they were being rather silly, Mr Croad. Foolish in believing that someone as inept as yourself could actually successfully arrange a public meeting, and correctly gauge public interest and provide adequate facilities.

When finally, handling a group of mildly irate residents became all too much for Mr Croad, he called Sussex police.

The Youtube video below by Pete Edgeler captures the atmosphere beautifully. Watch Mr Croad, (the Basil Faulty look-alike appearing at .50 in the video) demonstrate how not to  manage a public meeting.

I very doubt either Mr Croad or his colleague Mr Roberts would dare speak to representatives of Morrissons in the same way as he addressed this group of local residents.

 

 

Or how about Arun District Council’s treatment of Alan, Pier Road’s most eccentric resident? Here Arun District Council’s Planning Department have written to a local resident and amongst other things, demanded to know why he has a toy dog and a mannequin attached to his property. A property, which gives many many visitors and locals some joy and amusement.

Yet when it comes to Morrissons supermarket not complying with the conditions of their planning consents, what do Arun District Council do?

 

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As always, thanks for reading.

Your comments welcome below.

 

 

This week sees the sad and shock announcement that Redcar steel works in the North East of England has been put into liquidation threatening 2,200 jobs.

Given the enormous, ongoing massive investments in building new  flood defences, why is the Environment Agency continuing to source steel from abroad?

I’ve repeatedly put this question to the Environment Agency since 2013. My most recent request being in early August.

Thus far, no explanation.

I don’t think that’s good enough, do you?

Why are we buying steel from the Netherlands and beyond when we have steel plants here in the UK which are now facing closure owing to lack of sustainable orders?

Surely even if UK steel plants aren’t as competitive as elsewhere in the world, we should still support our home-grown industries – after all – what’s the likely cost of the lost of 2,200 jobs on the economy, let alone the costs of the loss of other ancillary businesses that will be undoubtedly be forced to close their doors also?

There may be a very good reason for why the Environment Agency doesn’t buy from UK steel plants.

But if so, why are they so reluctant to tell us?

The steel used to construct Littlehampton’s new flood defences was shipped from the suppliers in the Netherlands and the contract to build Littlehampton’s defences was awarded to the Dutch company, VolkerStevin.

It seems not only are the Environment Agency unwilling to support the struggling UK steel industry, but also continue to award highly lucrative construction contracts to companies outside of the UK.

Gareth Stace, Director of Trade Association of UK Steel  says they’re operating in an unsustainable situation. He says: “Chinese imports were 2pc of UK steel demand in the first half of 2011, that’s expected to be 8pc this year. Britain’s steel makers also face a strong pound, high energy costs, environmental levies and high business rates that foreign competitors don’t.”

So ironically, the UK’s steel industry is facing unfair and punitive environmental levies and extortionate business rates.

Why are UK industries having to pay punitive environmental tax levies, while their competitors don’t?

Why are we the UK tax payer funding the Environment Agencies extensive flood defence building schemes, when the steel and construction contracts are not being awarded to UK companies?

Surely we’re better off paying higher prices for steel sourced in the UK than paying the financial and social costs of massive job losses – particularly in area of the UK where jobs aren’t easy to find.

And as for the low carbon footprint nonsense

The Environment Agency made great play of the fact that they had insisted the steel for use in Littlehampton’s flood defences be transported by ship from the Netherlands as opposed to by road – thereby significantly reducing the project’s carbon foot print.

Walter HammannAbove steel arriving by ship from the Netherlands and being offloaded in River Road.

Once the steel arrived in Littlehampton harbour it was stored in Littlehamton Harbour Board’s storage area in River Road.

However, it’s here the Environment Agency’s low-carbon footprint plans fell apart.

In order to transport the steel from River Road to Pier Road (less than a mile) a road haulage company was appointed. Not a local based haulage company, but a London based company.

So for a over a year all the steel was transported from River Road to Pier Road – distance less than a mile – by a company who had to drive to and from London each time a batch of steel had to be moved.

A distance of over 112 miles driven for each occasion the steel had to be moved a distance of less than a mile.

Yet, Littlehampton is home to a number of quality transport companies.

How’s that for ensuring a ‘low carbon footprint.’?

Pretty much all hire vehicles/plant and machinery used for the construction of the flood defences came from Essex and beyond as the Environment Agency operate a ‘central procurement policy’ which means that they couldn’t source anything locally in Littlehampton as Littlehampton (and surrounding businesses) were not on the pre-agreed approved procurement list for contractors.

So even the most basic piece of plant machinery had to be transported relatively great distances by road in order to comply with the Environment Agency’s buying policy which is clearly at odds with the Environment Agency’s green credentials.

Our thoughts are with those facing loosing their jobs and a uncertain future at Redcar Steel works.

 

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As always, your comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Please remember if you haven’t already to follow my twitter feed at @pier_road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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