WHISPERING SMITH: Flood works delay could kill summer season trade

REALLY bad news this week from the Environment Agency (EA) for the traders along Arun Parade and Pier Road, advising them that the work on building the flood defences will not now be completed until the autumn of 2014 – who didn’t see that coming?

This means a whole lot of summer business lost, from the Riverside Fish stall along to the Look & Sea Centre.

The delay is partially due to the terrible weather, the breakdown of machinery and the delay in producing the final drawings for the project. No doubt the finished river frontage will look fine and that the new defences are and will be needed, but that is of little consolation to the traders who still have their rents to pay whether customers can get to them or not.

The EA spokesman has said that notices will be published in this newspaper and the West Sussex Gazette informing customers that it is business as usual along that stretch of the river. But it will not be quite ‘as usual’ with the summer bustle funnelled down to one cluttered walkway and no wall to sit upon.

I guess the message should be that we locals remember the pleasures of our riverside walkway and spread the word and continue to support the local businesses.

MORE depressing news this time from the cricket world, with the England and Wales Cricket Board, apparently supported by Alastair Cook, dropping our best and most entertaining player Kevin Pietersen.

He is a maverick, yes, but Australia can work with such entertaining players and footie managers can handle star players who bite, kick each other and regularly ‘fall down’ on the job, so why not the ECB? Andy Flower and Alex Ferguson may share the same initials but I would guess their styles of management are worlds apart.

I think in future I will concentrate my spectating not at The Oval or Lords but on Sunday afternoons ’neath the spreading horse chestnut tree at the lovely ground in Arundel Park, fortified by a pint and a sausage roll. Who knows, maybe KP will drop by…

BEYOND THE DARKNESS. Our cinema is to reopen next Friday, with a showing of 12 Years a Slave, a dark movie to end a dark time. Closed now for 364 days.