Arun District Council’s Chief Executive reports the Car Park wasn’t dangerous

Arun District Council Car ParkThe above Arun District Car Park surface isn’t Dangerous – reports Arun District Council’s Chief Executive, Nigel Lynn. Neither does Arun District Council undertake Risk Assessments for their Public Car Parks, as they don’t legally have to.

In a written reply to my complaint about the dangerous state of an area in the West Green Car Park, Mr Lynn replies as follows:

“Dear Mr Power,

We have spoken with the car parking team here regarding risk assessment and they have responded as below …

Arun District Council does not have specific risk assessments for specific car parks and it is not a legal requirement. The car parks are patrolled by our contract staff and where there are Health & Safety issues they are reported. The West Green car park was not closed because we considered it a safety issue but because we recognised that the amount of mud and water on the surface would deter people from parking in that area.”

Kind regards,

Nigel

 

Arun District Council Car ParkNo risk to safety, according to Arun District Council – only the appearance forced the closure of the Car Park.

No need for risk assessments as Arun isn’t legally obliged to undertake any.

Presumably they’re unaware of their Legal Duty Of Care to car park users under common law?

In any event in the absence of specific legislation requiring them to carry out a Risk Assessment, you’d imagine that common sense would require them.

And to claim that this car park isn’t dangerous, well what can I say?

Meanwhile, Arun District Council Car Parks have announced changes to their Car Parking Charges as detailed below.

Arun District Council Car Park ChargesYou need to read them very carefully to see what’s going on.

Arun District Council Car ParksRemember, it’s only the appearance of the above mud that forced the closure of Arun District Council’s Car Park.

The above poses no risk to public safety or is likely to pose hazard or danger to the elderly or those in wheelchairs or those pushing baby buggies?

Littlehampton’s West Bank, a victim of flooding and government targets….

Sadly, homes and business properties on Littlehampton’s West Bank/Beach area have experienced flooding following last night’s tidal surges.

Earlier today I spoke to one resident who told me he and his wife had spent the day out shopping to replace their water damaged electrical goods including fridge and cooker. He described the water coming over the top of wall as frightening. ‘A bit like how you’d imagine your worst nightmare but thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.’

It wasn’t just residential properties that have been affected. Business owners on the Riverside Industrial Estate have been left with extensive water damage to their properties, which will obviously have an adverse effect on their businesses.

To be fair to the Environment Agency (EA) they issued flood warnings – I tweeted one for the Rope tackle area late last night when it appeared on the EA’s website.

It’s important to note that there were no such flood warnings for the East Bank area  – this being the area where the current sea defence works are taking place, which would appear to highlight the fact that the West Bank is at greater risk of flooding from the sea than the East Bank.

So why given £14m is being spent on the East Bank is not a penny available for the West Bank – a matter of only a few metres across the River Arun?

Surely common sense would suggest that if one side of the River Arun is at risk of flooding, then so too will the opposite side?

Alas, I’m afraid it’s all down to targets. You see in order for the Environment Agency to bid for the £14million funding they’ve managed to secure, there was one important caveat – that being there needed to be at least 700 homes at risk of flooding. Just imagine we would have missed out if the EA’s bid could only guarantee flood protection for say 699 homes…

Doesn’t bear thinking about it. Thank goodness they found 700 homes.

As I said, we’re living in a government led target driven society.

Since the consultation process began with the Environment Agency, (over 2 years ago)  a number of us, including myself have questioned the logic of improving the East Bank sea defences while doing nothing with the West Bank.

I believe that you can’t build up one side without having an impact on the other side, after all this is a river we’re talking about?

I got so wound up about this particular issue that some time ago I wrote a post “The Miracle Of Littlehampton Harbour”. Here’s the link to it, if you haven’t already ready it. It’s worth revisiting, especially now.

When Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency kindly agreed to take part in an earlier interview for the Pier Road Diaries, I asked Andrew about the West Bank and here’s my original question (in bold) followed by Andrew’s answer in italics.

There’s a certain amount of skepticism surrounding these works. Understandable when you consider that the Environment Agency is only enhancing the sea defences on the East Bank, which surely will have a potentially devastating impact on the West Bank. Why has this area of the harbour been left to the mercy of the rising sea levels that the Environment Agency are predicting and what reassurances can you give the residents and businesses of this area that what you’re doing on the East Bank isn’t going to accelerate their demise?

AW: The construction of the new flood defences on the East bank will have no negative impact on the West bank. Once the works are completed the tide will continue to rise and fall in the way it always has done in Littlehampton. You are right though; sea levels are predicted to rise.

At the current time there are a comparatively low number of houses and businesses on the west bank. This means attracting government funding for a major flood defence scheme is difficult.

There will come a point where something needs to be done to improve the height of the flood defences on the West bank of the river Arun in Littlehampton. Much like the current East bank scheme, this future work will need to be delivered in partnership, which means input from local authorities and the wider Littlehampton community will be key to protecting the West bank from tidal river flooding.

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Two important things to note here.

1. The Environment Agency do not believe that the construction of the Sea Defences on the East Bank will have any adverse affect on the West Bank.

2. There ain’t and won’t be any money available from the government to build the necessary sea defences for the West Bank as there aren’t enough houses or businesses here.

With regard to number 1 above.  I have always disagreed with the Environment Agency on this one, (as they know and I won’t bore them again with my logic), but I do hope they’re right and I’m wrong. But I cannot see how raising the bank on one side of a river, as well as taking away the gentle sloping bank will not have an adverse effect on the other side which has not been built up to compensate.

However, in relation to number 2 – It’s easy to see where this is going. The argument is no longer about improving sea defences for the West Bank, but shifting the sand conveniently onto – this area needs lots more houses if we are to guarantee its future.

Something that I am sure will sit conveniently with Arun District Council’s current policy of building as many houses as they possibly can to infuriate as many residents as they possibly can while courting the big name property developers who in turn will pay them cash bonuses (aka – Section 106 monies) to fund their pet projects (St Martin’s Car Park feasibility studies etc), as well as paying consultants to come up with more daft ideas.

As I said, sadly we’re living in a target driven society where common sense is as rare these days as an honest politician.

Our thoughts are with those on the West Bank who’ve been affected by the flooding.

Pier Road’s historic kiosk now removed

Pier Road 5In it’s heyday, Pier Road’s green kiosk played an important part in the road’s fishing and tourist economy. For years it was operated as a fishing tackle shop by Mr Moore. Sadly, when Mr Mooore retired the kiosk’s new owners (for reasons best known to themselves) decided not to reopen it as a fishing kiosk and it fell into a derelict and sadly unloved state.

Yesterday, Wednesday 27th November, saw its final demise to make way for the new Sea Defence wall.

Pier Road Kiosk 1The kiosk being emptied ready to be dismantled.

Pier Road Kiosk 3VolkerStevin’s workers preparing to remove the roof. (I’m always grateful to them for allowing me to take their pictures and for poke around the perimeter fencing with my camera. If you’re down in Pier Road do say hello to them as they’re a friendly and helpful crew.

Pier Road Kiosk 4Walls are coming off…

Pier Road Kiosk 5All that remains is the handrail.

Pier Road Kiosk 6The Kiosk finally gone with only the walkway remaining.

Pier Road, Littlehampton

Pier Road, Littlehampton

This early picture of Pier Road, pre-dates the building of the Kiosk, but as you can see the wooden walkway was in place at this time.

Coming next – the latest update on the scheme’s progress and an Interview with Eric Smethurst, Public Liaison Manager for VolkerStevin, the scheme’s contractors.