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.

The Belle proves popular and the Littlehampton harbour welcomes a large visitor..

As previously reported, the Belle cruise boat, which usually operates out of Brighton Marina has spent the week in Littlehampton offering boat trips from Littlehampton to Arundel as part of the Arundel Festival.

The Belle Littlehampton to Arundel trips

The Belle has proved hugely popular amongst locals and tourists who’ve enjoyed the trip from Littlehampton to Arundel as well as bringing visitors to Littlehampton.

The Belle Littlehampton harbourThe Belle returning from a trip to Arundel where it has proved hugely popular.

The Belle Littlehampton harbour 2Passengers for the Belle queue awaiting it’s arrival from Arundel.

For those who’ve missed out, the Belle is still running trips between Littlehampton and Arundel today, Friday, and over this coming weekend. Pick up and disembarkation point is Pier Road just opposite Coastal Cycles.

Another visiting vessel to Littlehampton Harbour earlier in the week was the MV Islay Trader, which also pulled the crowds. This cargo ship being one, if not thee largest vessel to enter and leave Littlehampton Harbour. Apparently it was taking metal sheeting for use in the construction of the new Sea Defences – a joint project led by the Environment Agency and Arun District Council.

Islay Trader 1Excited crowds gather on Littlehampton Pier to watch the arrival of the Islay Trader.

Islay Trader 2The Islay Trader edging its way into Litlehampton Harbour.

Islay Trader 3The Pier Road Ferry stands by as the Islay Trader squeezes past on route to Railway Wharf.

Islay Trader 4Making its way down towards the Wharf. The red footbridge has parted to allow it to enter through.

Sadly, we’re now entering the last week of August as many visitors prepare to head for home to get ready for another school term.

And, Pier Road faces an uncertain future as it’s not long now before the Environment Agency proposed new sea defence work begins and Pier Road will be closed to vehicular traffic as well have boarding stretching along its length approximately 1.5 metres from the restaurants and shop windows.

Littlehampton Harbour 2Take a last view of the tide lapping up against the wall in Pier Road as this landscape is soon to be given the ‘regeneration brush’.

For years, all ages has stood and watched the tide rise and fall along this road. Stand here on a busy summer’s day and you’ll hear grandparents explaining to their excited, fascinated grandchildren how the tide comes and goes. They’ll watch fascinated as the dry areas are overtaken with the rising tide. Or, marvel as the tide ebbs away.

Littlehampton HarbourAs it is now above,

riverfrrontAs it was, above

As it will be in the future, below.

ADC Plan for Pier Road