A very Happy Christmas to all our customers and readers.

All of the businesses in Pier Road would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers (and readers of this blog) a very happy and peaceful Christmas and thanks for all your support in 2013.

Our thanks also to the team at the Environment Agency – Andrew Walker, Peter Borsberry, Sam Munnings for their help and support during this year and consulting with us. Likewise thanks to Roger and Rachel at Arun District Council, John Edjvet (Town Centre Manager) and finally a big thanks to Eric Smethurst from VolkerStevin for brightening up Pier Road during what is proving to be a difficult time for most of us.

The latest update from the scheme is that the piling works are now 4 weeks behind schedule with no piling having taken place in Pier Road at all. It’s disappointing for everyone, but the scheme’s contractor’s are keen to stress that a four week delay in piling doesn’t mean the scheme is 4 week’s behind.

On Friday 20th December the works will pause for the Christmas break and will resume again on the 6th January 2014.

Other important news is that Arun District Council have announced they have (with immediate effect) suspended their ongoing enforcement of the parking regulations in the area behind the Road Closed Signs in South Terrace. This being the area in front of Riverside Fish Kiosk. This area has seen extraordinary, and in my view unforgivable over-attention by Arun’s Traffic Wardens, which regrettably has had an enormous impact on visitors to our area with associated loss of trade. Why this area became the subject of such aggressive enforcement is not clear, but given that this area of the road is clearly marked as ‘ROAD CLOSED’, it’s easy to see why visitors parked here.

Thankfully, common sense has finally prevailed and West Sussex County Council are introducing a half-hour waiting maximum waiting area in this area of South Terrace, which will be helpful.

Arun District Council Traffic WardensThe area behind the above signs had been the subject of intense and prolonged ticketing by Arun District Council’s Traffic Wardens or CEO’s as they’re called. This area was regularly visited by Arun’s Parking Enforcement Officers who demanded those who were parked there to move or face ticketing. Unattended vehicles were ticketed. It’s absolutely incredible that given the relatively small size of this area (approx 100 metres on only one side of the road – left hand side), and that the road itself is clearly marked as ROAD CLOSED that the area was the subject of such intense activity by Arun District Council. The effect of their unnecessary, bizarre actions has resulted in a dramatic loss of business for businesses in Pier Road.

Thankfully, common sense has finally prevailed (thanks to West Sussex County Council)  you can now park in this area for up to a half an hour.

Please remember if you’re visiting Pier Road – there is a free car parking area provided by Arun District Council for all visitors and customers of Pier Road. This car park is located in the West Green Car Park – this being the square, almost tiled area just in front of the Windmill Public House. It’s clearly marked – Car Parking for Pier Road  – just make sure you’re parked in the area provided.

DSCF3157Here’s a picture of Pier Road as it is now (22nd December 2013)  having been closed since October 2013.

Pier Road closedHere’s a picture of how it was the day after it was closed.

The differences being:

  1. Fence erected
  2. Bins removed
  3. Green kiosk removed
  4. An area of the pavement has been leveled with tarmac.

The only real activity that we’ve actually seen in Pier Road has been the over-zealous, unwanted and destructive attentions of Arun District Council’s Traffic Wardens and the near annihilation of our businesses.

Other than that, a very, very happy Christmas from the Pier Road Diaries – thanks very much to all our readers for taking the time to visit, and all our contributors for taking the time to share your views.

Catch up with you all in the New Year.

Paul

Littlehampton Sea Defence Works hampered by bad weather, broken machinery leading to ongoing delays

And further delays expected….

Not the best of news, I’m afraid.

The Environment Agency have confirmed that Littlehampton’s Sea defences have already fallen approximately two weeks behind. Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency explained earlier the problems they’ve experienced.

Andrew says: “We have encountered a number of issues on site during the first 4 weeks of construction. Firstly, poor weather and high winds in the first two weeks led to some delay in the building of the crane.

Secondly, we have encountered some problems building the very large steel piling gate which allows us to drive steel piles into the ground. It’s extremely important to get this correct.

Thirdly, the brand new crane which is being used to move the heavy steel for the piling gate and to drive the piles has developed a major mechanical fault.”

So, how will this impact on the end date for the completion of the scheme?

Andrew says: “Whilst we are all working extremely hard to manage and resolve these issues, the combination of these factors has currently occurred a delay in progress in the order of two weeks. We have plans in place to resolve these issues, but at the current time, there is the potential for the duration of the current delays to increase.”

Littlehampton Sea Defences crane workSpecialists are now working on the crane in an attempt to repair it. The major problem described by Andrew is that the engine has seized believed to be caused by a loss of all its oil during operation. Unfortunately, it appears replacing the engine isn’t going to be easy owing to the logistical problems in the relatively small area where the crane operates.

Some better news in that Pier Road’s and Littlehampton’s only and best fresh fish kiosk is now open for business after being swung into it’s new position just opposite the Nelson Public House.

Riverside Fish LittlehamptonRiverside Fish Kiosk is now open again for business and customers today were enjoying buying some of Littlehampton’s freshest fish.

Fish Mongers in LittlehamptonIf you haven’t already sampled the fresh fish from Riverside Fish, pop down and taste the difference between supermarket – factory-farmed fish and the real thing caught off our beautiful shores as well as further afield. Simon (pictured above) is an ex-commercial fisherman and his wealth of knowledge in how to prepare (ask him nicely and he’ll do it for you) and cook fish is second to none.

Understandably, there is a growing sense of frustration and despair amongst traders in Pier Road as we’re looking at a road which is now closed with little or nothing appearing to be going on in it.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThis picture taken earlier today, Friday, 22nd November shows Pier Road over a month on since the works began and the only apparent difference being the removal of the litter bins and the Fish Kiosk moved to it’s new location.

However, Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency is more reassuring about this saying: “We have built periods of non-productive time, (it’s called ‘float’ in project manager terms) into our programme of works for poor weather. This means we are able to tolerate a certain amount of weather delay and still meet out key dates.”

Another notable development is that the Environment Agency’s Public Drop In Centre is now up and running and is located just above the Oyster Pond (just behind Riverside Fish Kiosk) and is manned by the very amenable Eric Smethurst who is VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison Manager.

Environment Agency Visitor information centre LittlehamptonThe Environment Agency’s Public Drop in Centre is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – 8am to 4pm. Outside of these hours, Eric is not too far away and can usually be found somewhere on site.

The long awaited “Pier Road Open for Business signs” have now gone up at all the major road closed junctions and a special thanks to John Edjvet, Arun District Council’s Regeneration Officer/Town Centre Manager for taking the lead and erecting smaller signs in all of Arun District Council’s seafront notice boards and also for arranging signage to be placed at the Flintstones Centre in Littlehampton Town Centre.

Pier road open for businessJohn Edjvet from Arun District Council’s signage on along Littlehampton promenade.

Finally, please, please remember that Pier Road is open as usual for business and we’d love to see you here. We’re all extremely grateful for those regular customers who have continued to support our businesses during what is a difficult time.

Remember, or if you’re not aware, if you’re visiting Pier Road there is ample free parking in West Green Car Park – this is the car park just outside the Windmill. Look for the signs as you drive in. If you’re coming from the opposite direction to Pier Road – as in from New Road the double lines along Pier Road are seasonal and not currently enforced. You can usually find short term parking along here if you’re visiting Pier Road.

Again, thanks for reading – if you haven’t already make sure you sign up for regular updates on Pier Road Diaries by entering your email in the top right hand corner. Do also follow Pier Road on our twitter account – @Pier_road

And do, please come and visit us.

Finally,  500 Santas are due to visit Littlehampton Seafront all in aid of raising funds for St Barnabas Hospice. The event, the first of it’s kind will be run this Sunday starting at 11am. Competitors can sprint, jog or walk a 3km route (about 2 miles) from Banjo Road Car Park.

If you’d like to be one of the 500 Santas, please visit St Barnabas Hospice Website registration page listed below. If not, make sure you pop along on Sunday morning to cheer them on and help them with their fundraising.

To register visit here.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Works gets underway.

The first in what I aim to be regular pictorial updates on the Sea Defence Works taking place in Pier Road, Littlehampton.

Week 1

At 5.35pm on Monday, 21st October, Pier Road was closed to vehicular traffic.

Pier Road closedAn eerie quiet descended on Pier Road as the traffic suddenly stopped but this was short lived as a number of motorists decided to ignore the Road Closed Signs, stop, get out of their vehicles, move the cones and then drive through regardless.

This pretty much continued until the following day when the contractors began erecting the heras fencing. Even then some drivers still drove through, but not in the same numbers as the previous evening.

However, no sooner was the road closed and it was open again as the result of a car crash in New Road junction Bayford Road.

Bayford road has now become the alternative route for traffic that would normally travel down Pier Road. Obviously, we can’t attribute the car crash on the traffic diversions, but it resulted in the contractors re-opening Pier Road for a period to allow traffic come down Pier Road while Bayford road was closed. Let’s hope there’s no more such traffic crashes or incidents, as Pier Road won’t be so easily opened in the future now the heras fencing and site infrastructure is in place.

Car accident in Bayford Road LittlehamptonThe traffic collision in New Road where two motor cars collided with each other with the silver car crashing into the Mobile Phone Shop’s window.

With this being the weekend of the bonfire celebrations, I raised concerns that given the potentially large flow of pedestrians that usually come down Pier Road, it would be perhaps a good idea if they left an extra wide gap for these large numbers to pass through.

Sergeant Roy Hodder, our always-helpful local Police Sergeant liaised with the site manager and between them they ensured that Pier Road had sufficient width to accommodate the numbers. Sadly, as events transpired the bonfire and parade were cancelled owing to the awful weather and Pier Road was quite literally void of it’s usual crowds.

I think the increased footway, which pretty much was a single carriage way wide led alot of people into a false sense of security and also perhaps gave a misleading impression as to how Pier Road will be for the duration of the works.

Surprisingly, no one I spoke to, apart from the businesses owners seemed to have any idea of why the road was closed. There seems to be a general unawareness that these works were due to take place.

Despite the awful weather, the Environment Agency have confirmed that they achieved all their first week’s goals and they’re on target.

These goals included:

  1. Closing the roads
  2. Erecting the heras fencing
  3. Completing road surveys and various other works that they’ve been unable to do while the road was open
  4. Preparations began for the new site for Riverside Fish Kiosk.

Our own business in Pier Road (Coastal Cycles) had a welcome boost to our sales with the sale of a fleet of four bikes to VolkerStevin the contractor whose building the scheme.

The bikes will be used by the contractors to cycle to and from the various locations that they’re operating from. Remember, or if you’re already not aware that this Project comprises of a number of areas divided up into  a number of ‘Reaches’ with the main contractors HQ now located at Railway Wharf in Littlehampton Harbour Board’s land.

 Reach 1  – Arun Parade

Reach 2 – Pier Road

Reach 3 – River Road

Environment Agency Bikes for the SchemeRepresentatives from the Environment Agency, VolkerStevin and the directors of Coastal Cycles hand over the new bikes for use during the scheme, which I am delighted to say, are already in regular use.

Week 2

The following Monday morning, work began on placing the heras fencing into its final position in preparation for the main works to come.

Littlehampton Sea Defence worksIt’s hard to describe how different the road feels with this reduced width. The pavement area is now only 2 metres wide something we all argued about during the consultation process as not being wide enough.

There were some shocked faces when they saw just how narrow this pavement is going to be. Remember, it’s going to be like this until June 2014. I can’t imagine the Easter weekend, let alone early summer.

You could argue, of course that this is nothing narrower than the existing pavement as was pointed out to us during the consultation process. However, as we pointed out back – you must measure this against the loss of the opposite side pavement and the fact you no longer side step momentarily into the road to create space for passing buggies, mobility scooters, pushchairs, prams and, how do I say this without causing offense? The wider amongst us..

Pier Road works by Environment AgencyAbove shows just how narrow the pavement really is and I think this is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the scheme – the free flow of pedestrian traffic.

Pier Road Sea Defence worksTo everyone’s relief the Green portable building pictured earlier was removed and is now located by the Oyster Pond. This green building will be the Scheme’s Information Centre and will be manned by Eric Smethurst, the scheme’s public liaison officer. And what a great guy he is. When we were first told by the Project Manager that the scheme would have a Liaison officer, my thoughts turned to bureaucracy personified with a high viz jacket and a rule book. But, Eric is just what’s needed for this scheme. A man whose enthusiasm and laughter is infectious and obviously loves what he does and has enormous engineering experience with projects just like this one.

I’m delighted to say that Eric has agreed to take part in a future  interview with the Pier Road Diaries where we’ll get an opportunity to ask him about his Visitor Information Centre, which incidentally, should be operational early next week, and his role.

Visitor Information Centre for the Sea DefencesThe Green Building located by the Oyster Pond is the scheme’s Visitor Information Centre, manned by Eric Smethhurst who’ll be happy to answer any questions and talk you through the details of how the flood defences will be built. There will also be lots of visuals and useful information.

works in Pier Road LittlehamptonAll the charter fishing boats have now been relocated to the Visitors Mooring area and local firm, Littlehampton Welding LTD have been busy working on the pontoons now that everything is being moved around.

Sea Defence work LittlehamptonThe ‘Nelson Steps’ have now been removed. These being the steps at the back of the Riverside Fish Kiosk and are regularly used by the local fishermen to land their catch to the fish kiosk. I’m not too sure where they’ll land their fish in the future as the whole area will be off limits for some time to come. Knowing Bob (the owner of the kiosk), I’d imagine he’s got it sussed.

Sea Defence Works LittlehamptonI had a very interesting and informative chat with the crane operator/driver who explained that this crane is a ’40 tonner’ and a mere baby to the 100 tonner that is due to arrive in Littlehampton next Wednesday. This larger crane will be used to lift in the heavy duty equipment to drive in the piles

At a previous consultation meeting, Andy Hills from VolkerStevin explained they will be using a ‘Vibro Piling Hammer’, which apparently, despite it’s name reduces the likelyhood of vibration on the surrounding area.

So if you want to see the heavy duty equipment arrive and be installed, next Wednesday (6th November) is the scheduled day for it all too arrive.

Fish Kiosk LittlehamptonThe Riverside Fish Kiosk, Pier Road’s hugely popular Fish Mongers is closed at the moment. This was pre-planned as the contractor needs to prepare the kiosk ready to be moved to it’s new, temporary location opposite the Nelson Hotel.  I spoke to the contractor earlier today and he explained to me although it will be lifted by the 40tonne crane, it won’t be specatularly flying through the air on it’s journey, more of being lifted a couple of mms off the ground and carefully, very carefully swung into position.

Once the Fish Kiosk re-opens, we’ll tweet this to our followers – so please make sure if you want to keep up-todate with all that’s going on you follow the Pier Road Diaries Twitter account @Pier_Road  make sure also you sign up to receive an email to advise you when the Pier Road Diaries are updated. With the scheme now underway, I’m hoping for at least twice weekly photo-blog posts, hopefully more.

All going to plan and on-time?

There’s been criticism that the Environment Agency haven’t yet erected the large banners they’d promised, advertising that all our businesses are open, haven’t yet been erected.

I have to take some of the blame for this as despite Andrew Walker’s (Environment Agency) continued reminders to me about supplying our logos, I’m afraid I didn’t get them to him until the Friday before before the road closed. But, I wasn’t the only one….(you know who you are)

In terms of time-scales.

At our last consultation meeting, we were given a presentation by the Contractor, Andy Hills who outlined the first three week’s programme and without boring you with a blow-by-blow programme, the project is on target, despite the appalling weather.

Can I just say a big thank you to Eric and his colleagues from VolkerStevin and Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency for being so helpful in allowing me to take pictures for the Diaries and also answer my many questions. With this sort of co-operation I should be able to keep you updated with all that’s going on.

And, please do remember, Pier Road is open as usual and there’s free car parking available in the West Green Car Park – just look out for the signs.

Littlehampton