Littlehampton Town Centre Drunks

Anyone else had enough?

On Saturday 5th March 2016, I shopped in Littlehampton town centre as I regularly do.

However my visit was marred by the ongoing drunken arguments and abuse by Littlehampton’s town centre resident drunks.

If you visit the town, you’ll be familiar with them.

They cluster in areas, drinking, swearing, spitting and fighting.

Their behaviour isn’t just unacceptable, it’s criminal.

Yet, despite the very obvious ongoing public order offences committed by these people, Sussex police seem reluctant to do anything about them.

For example, I attended a meeting last year where the problem was discussed by the authorities including Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. One of the solutions was to involve the homeless charity ‘Stone Pillow’.

Actions such as arresting and prosecuting offenders didn’t seem to feature on the agenda.

It was all about ‘working with these people to achieve positive outcomes’, we were told.

I wonder if I’d stood up at the meeting and directed at Ms Bourne and her colleagues some of the verbal abuse that many of us have been subjected to in the town centre, would she been so keen on working with me to achieve positive outcomes?

Wonder how she’d cope with being called a ‘ f….ing fat, ugly bitch, as one of my partially-sighted relatives was called recently when she accidentally  strayed into the path of one of our town centre’s female drunks?

Needless to say, my relative now shops elsewhere.

As for the view that these people are somehow homeless.

These people all live in well-appointed accommodation in and around Littlehampton, paid for by the local tax payer. One things for sure,when they’re not causing bother in the town centre, they’re making a great success of it where they live.

Of course their well-heeled landlords,  most of whom don’t live in Littlehampton, are far enough away to be not bothered by their tenants anti-social behaviour.

Ask yourself, why is it these drunks aren’t plaguing Rustington town centre, or Arundel town centre?

It’s because Littlehampton is where they’ve been housed.

Littlehampton has long being the favourite dumping ground for Arun’s social problems.

And as long as the out-of-town decision-making Councillors continue to grant planning permissions to Littlehampton landlords to turn family-sized homes into bedsits, this problem will continue.

Across the road from my home, I once witnessed a woman being dragged by her hair by a drunken man who then forced his way into the property where she lived (a HMO) by shoving his fist through the glass.

At the time this particular HMO was home to a number of serious undesirables.

It was late at night. My partner and I phoned the police, who to their credit arrived within minutes, arrested the offender, while the woman was taken to hospital.

We gave a statement at the time only for the perpetrator to be released the following morning without being charged. The police didn’t think of telling us and the first we knew was when the man began stalking us outside our front window. This went on for a number of months with no police intervention and harassment included late-night drunks urinating in our doorway, our car vandalised, beer bottles thrown against our wall along with some pretty vile verbal abuse being directed at us.

It ended when he and his friends left.

The offenders were in control all the time. Just as they are now in Littlehampton town centre.

These people don’t just cause problems in town centres; they blight lives and communities.

Arun District Council have finally announced a solution to the problem.

An alcohol ban for the town centre.

But didn’t they previously introduce an alcohol restriction zone, which has been mostly unenforceable owing to lack of resources?

I imagine it will be as successful as their folly in employing dog poo enforcement officers who managed to go a whole term without issuing any penalties.

Yet, Arun District Council hailed it a huge success.


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79-year old woman dies in Littlehampton following an incident with a van.

Sussex police are appealing for witnesses following an incident in Highdown Drive, Littlehampton on Wednesday morning at approximately 10.14.

A 79-year old woman who was a pedestrian as involved in an incident with a white van. She was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where sadly she died of her injuries.

Sussex Police appeal (600 x 337)

If you have any information, or witnessed the incident, Sussex police would like you to contact them on 101 quoting operation ‘GEDDING.’

You can also email them at collision.appeal@sussex.pnn.police.uk again quoting Operation GEDDING in your email.

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Littlehampton Flood Defence Scheme asking for a cash bail out from Arun District Council

The Environment Agency’s Team responsible for delivering Littlehampton’s £14.5 million Flood Defence scheme announced on Friday, (11th April 2014) to Pier Road Traders, that Littlehampton’s Sea Defence project is now overspent.

So much so, that they’re now having to cut back on the public realm enhancements (the landscaping of the scheme), and also asking the tax payer for additional funds to complete the project.

The exact figure of the overspend hasn’t been disclosed.

Reasons for the increased expenditure is explained in an email from the Project Team as follows:

“The contractor’s costs for the public realm are higher than initially anticipated due to the increased programme duration and additional information on work specification provided as part of the detailed design process.”

 

The email advises that savings will be achieved by:

” a revised design has been proposed that adjusts this slightly replacing some of the ‘harder’ elements with additional planting.”

Revised designs will include:

  1. Removal of the bottom two planting terraces in lieu of a planted slope with a steel panel visible at the rear of the planted area.
  2. Removal of 3 areas of timber terracing at the southern end of Reach 1 in lieu of planting.
  3. Replacement of southern steps, adjacent to the service access road, with planting and a shorter section of steps.
  4. Replacement of steps near the lighthouse with a low wall, maintaining a short section of pedestrian steps for access.


“The changes achieve some of the necessary savings, however additional funds are required to deliver the scheme. Arun District Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 14th April will be asked to consider the recommendation of a supplementary estimate to fully implement the proposed enhancements..”

 

This last line in the above paragraph gives rise to further confusion. Is the additional cash being required to deliver the original scheme as consulted and agreed upon. Or, provide funds to construct the revised downsized enhancements?

Essentially, Littlehampton’s Sea Defence Project promised at a cost of £14.5 million and promised to be delivered and ready by early July 2014 is now not only seriously behind in timescales – we’re looking at end of the year before the works are finished and then Pier Road will require works from West Sussex Highways Department, which will most likely result in Pier Road not being open again until early 2015 – but now the local taxpayer will be paying for what could only be described as gross incompetence.

What’s really annoying is just how many hours of our time in Pier Road was spent agreeing on a design for the public realm enhancements – this included quite literally days of our time – including attending workshops, consultation meetings, reviewing draft designs only not to see what we finally agreed on being quite literally altered and reduced in one simple email.

Why did we bother wasting our time?

Why were we so gullible as to believe that this shower of incompetents were remotely interested in how the final Littlehampton’s Seafront would look when in reality anything that was agreed could be instantly altered without any further consultation?

Here’s a brief overview of why this Project is both over-time and over-spent.

1. Engineering/survey flaws.

Despite being repeatedly told by traders in Pier Road many of whom have lived here for over 50 years that Pier Road was unsuitable and incapable of taking the weight of the large machinery needed to undertake the piling works, the Environment Agency’s Project Manager, Peter Borsberry ignored this advice relying instead on surveys by his appointed engineers.

These surveys proved flawed and it was only after a period of 4 month’s inactivity in Pier Road, the Environment Agency’s finally admitted during one of our meetings that a specially adapted crane bridge would have to be constructed incurring an additional £400,000 costs to the project budget.

My view is that the engineering firm  who provided the original flawed survey should be responsible for the costs that resulted in their flawed surveys.

Why should the tax payer have to pay for this gross incompetence?

Let’s not forget that this mistake not only cost a whopping great £400,000 hole in the project budget, but also led to lengthy delays to piling works being undertaken in Pier Road.

2. Timescale Flaws

Again throughout the consultation project, the Environment Agency’s Project team were questioned as to their timescales with traders expressing concern that the project couldn’t be delivered in such a small window.

These concerns were dismissed and the arrogant ‘we’re doing similar schemes all over the country’ became their stock-standard response.

When you look now at the sheer technical problems this project poses, you’d have to be an idiot not to be able to see that the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences could be achieved in as little as six months.

We were told by the then site manager that the piling in Pier Road would take 30 days. This during a consultation meeting. When asked by one of the traders in Pier Road how many piles would be needed to complete Pier Road, this was met with an embarrassing silence.

Who could honestly have any faith in a site manager who tells a group that piling can be completed in 30 days when he hasn’t even worked out how many piles would be needed?

In fact, it took the owner of a fish and shop to tell him how many piles would be needed and dig him out of the embarrassing hole he’d dug himself.

And, the piling in Pier Road is ongoing and has been since January and expected to be completed in May. A total of 5 months.

And we’re expected to pay for this level of competency?

3. Incompetent management

The contract responsible for constructing the scheme’s Site Manager has now been replaced.

I don’t intend to speculate on the reasons why he’s gone, but telling us that he could complete piling in Pier Road in 30 days might give you some idea. In any event, his replacement appears to have achieved more tangible results in the one month or so he’s been here, than what his predecessor didn’t manage to achieve in more than six months.

Why should the tax payer pay for incompetent site management?

4. Grossly underestimating compensation for Traders

Easy to see now why getting a fair deal on compensation was so difficult.

Clearly the Environment Agency hadn’t figured on just how great the impact would be on businesses trading in Pier Road.

Again, these concerns were brought (and continually brought) to the Project Team during the consultation process.

I suggested that the Environment Agency’s Project team undertake a survey of business activity in Pier Road in order to give them a better feel as to just how much their works were likely to cost us in terms of lost business.

These concerns were dismissed and no surveys undertaken – however the Project Team did spend time monitoring the comings and goings of fish in the River Arun and accessing the potential impact that their works might have on sea bass.

As we know now, businesses in Pier Road have been devastated by these works, which are ongoing and these losses are now set to increase seeing as the works will  continue throughout the summer period.

A once vibrant and brilliantly independent business location is now reliant on state-handouts to keep the lights on.

5. Excessive and ever-increasing ‘professional fees’.

What’s become clear with this project is that the Environment Agency is nothing more than a group of walking, talking pen pushers.

Any expertise/professional service  that’s required has to be bought in – and at considerable costs.

Whether it’s to assess trader’s compensation claims, or make a decision as to the type of pile used, the Environment Agency’s Project Team are either unable, unqualified or unwilling to undertake these tasks which then have to be farmed out private practices to provide.

Consequently costs spiral.

Ultimately, we (Pier Road Traders) were led to believe right throughout the lengthy consultation process that the Environment Agency has agreed a fixed cost contract for the works.

It’s unacceptable now that they’ve quite literally cocked up so much that we the local tax payer are not only having to fund their incompetence by way of providing additional monies, but also are seeing what was a somewhat under whelming public realm now being reduced further as they’ve overspent.

I have no doubt that Monday night’s Cabinet Meeting at Arun District Council will approve the additional funding – after all – what choice have they got?

In any event, it’s unacceptable that the public should pay for incompetence.

The Environment Agency will of course blame the weather and any other convenient peg they can hang their problems on. However, what they can’t get away from is that they fact that the fundamental principles behind this project were seriously flawed and data provided by expensive experts has proved detrimental to the costs and duration of this scheme.

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As always, thanks for reading.

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