Pier Road finally re-opens after 18months

Closed since 21st October 2013, Pier Road’s new riverside walkway and road finally re-opened today.

I have been following the construction of Littlehampton’s flood defences and have taken in excess of 3,000 photographs of the works at every stage. It’s impossible to put them all together in one post, so here’s some of my favourites, which diary the progress of the works finally arriving at today’s memorable opening.

Starting with a look back at Pier Road in bygone era.

Pier Road Littlehampon 1

Pier Road as it was as a working fishing port. As you can see the buildings were mostly houses, and not commercial. Only later, when sea-side holidays and day-trips became popular, did the road change to meet the changing visitor needs.

Pier Road, Littlehampton

Pier Road, Littlehampton

My favourite vintage pictures of Pier Road (above and below)  taken when it was a working fishing port.

Pier Road Littlehampton

Pier Road 5

Pier Road in its hay day when visitors flocked from all over the South East to visit Littlehampton’s wonderful sandy beaches and enjoy traditional fish and chips.


Per Road’s original ferry which crossed  the River Arun taking visitors from the East Beach area/Pier Road to the West beach.

In 2010, it was announced that Pier Road and Arun Parade would benefit from a £13.5 million investment in creating flood defences and a new public realm.

Consultations began with residents and visitors and a number of workshops and consultation meetings were held where visuals of the proposed scheme were put on display.

ADC Plan for Pier Road

Above is the visual presented at the public consultations which took place at Arun District Council’s Civic Centre.

Work begins

First mark for the first bore hole, Arun Parade Littlehampton

The above picture is the first mark made prior in the road that was made some time before the main works actually began. The yellow mark marks the point where the drilling rig began boring  for soil samples.

Drilling Pier Road Littlehampton

Drilling Pier Road Littlehampton

Drilling rig operating in Pier Road.

Pier Road closed

On the 21st October 2013 Pier Road was closed to vehicular traffic.

Littlehampton Sea Defence works

Conditions in Pier Road during the works were difficult, to say the least. The narrow, caged walkway had an enormous impact on visitors to the road.

Pier Road works by Environment Agency

Very little room for anyone and especially difficult for those travelling with children in buggies or pushing wheel chairs.

Fish Kiosk moving 7

Pier Road’s Fish Kiosk was removed and re-sited opposite the Nelson hotel where it remains today. It will move back to the riverside site once the works there are completed.

Piling works in Littlehampton 2

Piling works begin.

Littlehampton Flood Defences crane bridge

As Pier Road was deemed to unstable to take the weight of the piling crane, a specially adapted crane bridge was constructed which essentially carried the crane along Pier Road. A time-consuming task, which added to the ongoing construction delays.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 3

Piling crane sits on its bridge, above and below

Littlehampton Sea Defences 1

The size of the crane bridge was enormous, to say the least as can be seen in the close up picture below.

Crane Bridge

With works on such a scale, it’s hard to believe that the Environment Agency could have forecasted this would all be complete in six months.

Littlehampton harbour 2

A view of the crane bridge situated along the river.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 1

Equipment had to be craned onto the new platform and flying machinery became a common and interesting sight as the work progressed.


An aerial view of Pier Road as the piling bridge and crane makes it way along Pier Road. Picture courtesy of VolkerStevin and the Environment Agency.

VolkerStevin 3

With the piling complete in Pier Road, work began on completing the flood defence wall and capping off the exposed piles.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Construction 1

As the height of the wall became apparent, many became annoyed as this height wasn’t clearly depicted in the visuals shown at the public consultations.

ADC Plan for Pier Road

The visuals don’t really show the actual scale of the height of the wall from road or lower pavement level.

Littlehampton Flood Defence works

With the piling completed, concrete walkway complete, work began on finishing the landscaping, street furniture and taking up the old Pier Road.

Littlehampton Flood Defence Works 5

Evidence of Pier Road’s old cobbled surface was uncovered during these works.

Littlehampton Flood Defence works 3

Work continued on preparing and laying the new Pier Road


Pier Road’s new surface is laid.

Finally, it’s all finished and ready for today’s opening.

Pier Road 8

Pier Road’s new riverside walkway with an excellent disabled ramp to allow easy access for visitors.

Pier Road 4

Arun District Council’s new signs form part of the public realm.

Pier Road 6

A view of the ramp leading up to the new walkway. The walkway itself offers amazing views, which some great places to sit and relax.

Pier Road

One of the seats, which are lovely and comfortable and beautifully finished. In my view, the woodwork in the public realm really is amazing and the company who built these features should be very proud of their achievements.

Pier Road 3

It’s an impressive, bright and airy pubic realm space, which when fully opened will link Littlehampton town centre to the seafront promenade.

Pier Road

The colours of the road blend with the new realm. I wasn’t gone on this in the design, but I think it really does work well. The railings are superb, easy to handle and grip and blend in well with the design.

In addition to the river-facing seating, there are lots of wooden seating areas which face the restaurants, out of sight of the pictures.

Pier Road 1

Given time the sparse planting will grow and mature, but it’s a shame that more mature, dramatic specimens couldn’t have been included in what is a £22m build.

Pier Road 2

Members of the press and local business community gather for the official photographs.

Pier Road 5

The public mood today in Pier Road was one of genuine admiration and awe. I think the contractors and those involved with the project should be very proud of what they’ve created in Pier Road. It’s an impressive and wonderful new space, which undoubtedly will be enjoyed by many generations to come.

The official opening for the entire scheme isn’t scheduled until June 2015.

Arun Parade is due to be open in time for Easter.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read.






9 thoughts on “Pier Road finally re-opens after 18months

  1. Well done Paul for all your progress reports, commentaries and wonderful photos. I for one wouldn’t have known much about what was happening without your excellent blog.

  2. Well done Paul, plenty of information, and a great set of pictures, loved the old favourites, they all dovetailed so well together. Thank you. Graham ‘Les’

  3. Love Littlehampton. Can’t wait for my next visit. Nelson pub is fantastic, food wise and accommodation wise.

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