What’s happening with Arun District Council’s Look and Sea!

January now, not long before Spring and the early season visitors start arriving in our town. Still no official word from Arun District Council on what’s happening with the future of the Look and Sea! building. 

Importantly, will it be open and ready in time for the start of our tourist season?

Earlier this week, I saw that the remains of a New Year’s Eve celebrations from a nearby pub, still sat on the tables outside the now closed Look and Sea!

I find this unacceptable, given the level of proactive ‘council wardens’ that Arun District Council employ – from their parking wardens to their litter wardens that neither party during their frequent patrols in this area  could be bothered to inform the cleansing department at the council that the area badly needed cleaning up.

Surely it should be part of their job description to report on areas that need attention and it shouldn’t be up to local residents, business owners or visitors to tell the council that the building they own has been left in an appalling state?

I emailed senior officers at Arun District Council with some pictures and to be fair, there was an immediate response to get the place cleaned up and tidy. But, no reply to my question/observation as to why the council’s enforcement officers aren’t reporting back on things like this.

I also suggested to Arun District Council’s Chief Officer, Nigel Lynn that his senior officers should get out from behind their desks and take a more proactive approach to sorting out many of this towns easy-fix problems, this being one of them.

Let’s hope that ADC appoint a new operator and get this wonderful building with terrific harbour views open and welcoming customers back again in the near future. Let’s also hope that the council might instruct its army of enforcement officers (parking and litter) to report back to the council on whatever needs attention. You’d imagine this would happen automatically, but sadly not.

On a more positive note, thanks to Practical Boat Owner Magazine for commissioning and publishing my Visitors Guide to Littlehampton in their January 2019 Issue.

As always, thanks for reading – the Pier Road Blog is up and runnning for a new lease of life on a new server with a new domain name – pierroad.blog

As always, your comments welcome.

Paul

 

Latest Update from the construction of Littlehampton Sea Defences, the crane climbs onto the bridge

UPDATED: You can now see a video of this event on our YouTube Channel.

Today, Tuesday 25th February 2014 marked an important milestone in the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences as the especially created Crane Bridge was commissioned.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe especially created ‘Crane Bridge’ above.

If you’ve just joined us, a quick overview on why the bridge is necessary.

The Project’s engineering team previously discovered that Pier Road is simply not strong enough to take the weight of the 130tonne crane, which is needed to undertake the piling work.  To overcome this problem,  a massive ‘Crane Bridge’ or platform has been designed and constructed to lessen the weight impact on Pier Road.

Today, we witnessed the amazing sight of the 130 tonne crane quite literally driving up an especially created shingle ramp onto the Crane Bridge where it will operate from.

The pictures below detail both the construction of the ramp and the driving of the crane onto the platform.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 1aWork begins on building the crane ramp.

Over 400 tonnes of shingle were needed to build the ramp. Once the piling is finished and the ramp no longer required, the shingle will then be used to back-fill behind the piles, so there’s no extra cost in materials in creating the ramp.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 1The ramp is so high that the roller has to be lifted onto by the crane.

Flood Defences 4Rolling and compacting the shingle to take the 130 tonne crane.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 2Careful attention is taken by VolkerStevin to ensuring the levels are just right.

Littlehampton Flood Defences crane bridgeThe view from the Crane’s bridge, which gives you an idea of both it’s scale and height.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 3Preparations underway to ready both the ramp and the crane bridge.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 4No room for error as the crane is extremely close to the edge.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 5Crane ready to begin its climb.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 6One of VolkerStevin’s engineers gets ready to give the go-ahead.

Littlehampton Sea Defences Crane climb 1Everyone holds their breath as the crane begins its climb but then the engine stalls leading to some lighthearted banter. The crane is reversed up so as to allow the rear weights take the strain (these are the red blocks at the rear of the crane)

Littlehampton Sea Defences Crane climb 2Initial attempts fail as the crane’s heavy duty tracks dig into the aggregate and it’s unable to climb.

Crushing sleepers 1Some sleepers are laid to give the tracks more purchase.

crushing sleepers 2However, these are quickly turned into wood chip.

crushing sleepers 3This time more sleepers are laid, but at a different angle. Will they be enough to allow the crane to begin its climb?

crushing sleepers 4Initially it looks as if they’re going to go the same way as their predecessors..

Crane almost there 1But the plan works and the crane begins its climb.

crane almost there 2Almost there.

crane almost there 3Continuing the climb.

crane almost there 5Hanging in the balance. The awful moments when the crane is about to go beyond the point of no return. You’d have to have been there to appreciate the creaking and banging noises, hence the guys all looking upwards.. (I have a video of the whole event which I’ll shortly upload to the Diaries)

success crane on rampA success! The crane is safely in its new position on the recently constructed crane platform. Everyone was impressed with the skill of the crane driver, who made what looked like a near impossible task easy.

Littlehampton Sea Defences crane driverThis man’s skill was amazing.

crane on the rampThe crane in position ready to start the piling works in Pier Road.

So what happens now?

Earlier I caught up with Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison manager.

Eric explained that the crane will now begin piling works in Pier Road. While this is going on, a second bridge will put into position ahead of the existing bridge and the crane will simply drive forward onto this new section when it’s completed. The section the crane was on will then be placed forward of this section and so forth – so essentially ‘leap-frogging’ along Pier Road until all the piling is completed.

It’s an amazing sight. There’s no doubt about it that the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences is now entering an exciting phase. Lots to see, especially in Pier Road, which will now become a hive of activity.

So If you haven’t been down to see the works already – now is a good time.

This is one of two cranes that are now working on the construction of Littlehampton’s Flood Defences. The second crane is currently working in Arun Parade and this is the bigger of the two cranes weighing in a massive 160 tonnes.

If you’re visiting – Remember that (at the moment at least) you can park free in the Windmill Car Park, courtesy of Arun District Council provided you are a customer of a business in Pier Road.

So come down, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view.

Make sure you keep up to date with the Pier Road Diaries by entering signing up for regular updates. Just enter your email address in the box on the top right hand side of this page just below the twitter feed.

If you’re on twitter remember to follow us at @pier_road

As always, thank you for reading and joining us.

We welcome your comments.

Stand up Comedians and Arun District Council’s Mrs Brown’s Boys.

The Pier Road Diaries have been trawling through some of Arun District Council’s Credit Card purchases, which includes this gem, purchased on the 8th March 2009 courtesy of the local tax payer-

Arun District Council public spendingTotal cost £9.24.

Acquired during the twilight years of Arun District Council’s Chief Executive’s Ian Sumnall whose tenure was certainly nothing to laugh about.

Mr Sumnal arrived at Arun District Council circa the 1970s where he remained there until reaching retirement in 2011 and has the dubious honor of leaving Arun exactly as it was when he first arrived in 1970.

I wonder if Mr Sumnall qualifies for some sort of Heritage Preservation award?

Salary for Mr Summall Chief Executive Arun District Council – £115,000 per year.

Off now enjoying retirement with a final salary pension.

Certainly there’s no need for history lessons for the local school children. In Arun,  we’re still living in a replica of 1970s Britain complete with overhead telephone lines, electric cables, grass car parks and no complicated bus timetables, as there’s only two services a day.

The only real progress the area has seen has been for the Council to declare some years ago that Littlehampton’s motto was to be ‘Progress’ – and erect a small sign to this effect on Littlehampton’s seafront.

No wonder comedy writer and actor Ronnie Barker choose Littlehampton to holiday in. The area is alive with material for stand up comedians.

On a more serious note, the fact that Arun now requires so much regeneration speaks volumes about what didn’t go on here for the past 30 years or so where a self-serving council of mad swivel eyed loons have ensured that underground telephone lines and electric cables are still a forthcoming election promise.

Forget potholes, finished roads would be a novelty.

Personally, I’d have booted Mr Sumnall and his coherts out circa 1980s with the introduction of the package holiday and the electronic calculator.

It was at this time when faced with substantial falling visitor numbers that Arun should have realized that the traditional visitor that Arun had so heavily relied upon, were no longer going to visit in sufficient numbers to sustain our candy-floss economy.

Any responsible, forwarding thinking council would at this point have realised that the days of hanging out a plastic Mr Whippy Cone between the months of April and September wasn’t enough to compete with the cheaper and much more enjoyable alternative of a an all-in package holiday in the Costa Del Sol.

Visitor numbers fell in their thousands.

But Arun District Council failed to do anything at this time to attract alternative visitors to our beautiful area.

It was an opportunity missed and one that had lead to fatal consequences for Arun keeping up with other neighbouring tourist destinations.

It’s a competitive market and while other Local Authorities were busy working on plans to attract all-year-round outdoorsy types, Arun was doing all it could to deter them.

No council resources were spared as Arun erected as many “NO” signs as it possibly could pandering to the ‘swivel eyed loons with their over-developed sense of entitlement who continually objected to opening up the area to outdoor activities.

I kid you not, when I say that the mere sight of teenagers flying a kite on the seafront public greensward is enough to send some of Arun’s elderly retired affluent residents into a frenzy of letter writing in the local papers.

When Arun announced it’s intention to allow cycling on Littlehampton’s seafront promenade it drew record numbers of letters of complaint from local residents. One correspondent warning that Littehampton’s Seafront Promenade would become awash with ‘cycling tourists’…

Perish the thought. Middle aged affluent cyclists spending their money in our B&Bs, campsites and restaurants.

Consequently, draconian bye-laws that would make even Robert Mugabe envious were dreamed up by unimaginative Councillors and enforced by seasonally appointed Sea front police officers who set about the task of ensuing any healthy aspirations were quickly and painfully stamped out.

Arun’s message was clear.

No Cycling – No Rollerblading – No Kiteboarding – No Windsurfing – No dingy Sailing – No Walking on the sand dunes – No, No, No.

Then Mr Sumnall retired.

A new Chief Executive has been appointed – Nigel Lynn.

I’ve met Nigel and have been impressed by his visions for a brighter more outdoor orientated Arun District. He’s also a man clearly uncomfortable with the notion that a CEO’s job is  for life and he’s here to do a job, as opposed to his predecessor who simply grew old behind a desk.

In my view, he’s just what Arun needs.

Cycling is now allowed on Littlehampton’s Seafront promenade, Bognor Regis and there are some very exciting plans being muted about for the Littlehampton’s West Bank  area.

But then along came the thorny  problem of  The Windmill Cinema.

Nigel Lynn, Arun’s Chief Executive stands accused by many residents and councillors (those of the mad swivel eyed loon variety) that Mr Lynn, together with Councillor Dendle and the CEO of Inspire Leisure under the directions of Arun’s Council Leader, Mrs Brown – conspired to ensure that the decision to close the Windmill’s cinema went through without any of that tiresome public consultation that the Public Sector detests so much.

Just as I was hopeful that we’d got rid of the stand up comedian, it now looks like we’ve got our very own version of Mrs Brown’s boys.