Be prepared for more flood alerts, residents are warned

REGULAR flood alerts and warnings around Bognor Regis are set to be issued this winter.

An Environmental Agency official used an exhibition yesterday (November 7) to urge the town’s residents to be prepared for the coming bad weather.

Andrew Gilham, the agency’s flood and coastal risk manager, said: “Groundwater levels are higher than average for this time of year because of the amount of rain we’ve had this summer.

“Because of this, I expect we will see flood alerts and warnings being issued regularly in the coming months. That doesn’t mean to say we are going to see a lot of flooding because that depends on how much rain we get.”

The area’s first winter flood alert was issued on November 4 for the Aldingbourne and Barnham Rifes for 24 hours.

Mr Gilham said homeowners who believed they could be flooded should sign up to the agency’s warning helpine.

He also advised them to think about how to protect their possessions if their properties were flooded.

“A minute’s thought about keeping family items safe can save a lifetime’s distress of having irreplaceable items ruined by flooding,” he said.

Among those at the exhibition in the Regis Centre were some of the Bognor area residents whose homes were flooding in June’s deluge.

Jane Smeaton, of the West Felpham Flood Action Assembly, said: “We want to tell people to be prepared.

“When flooding happens to you, it takes months and months to get over.”

Shripney Community Flood Action Group joint founder Tina Bendall said: “Flooding for us is not a once in a lifetime event. Shripney gets flooded at least once a year.”

Fellow joint founder Gill Yeates said the group wanted action to stop further flooding.

“We don’t want to see any further infill development, especially large commercial properties, until we can see the effect of the latest wave of development. We are also concerned about whether the water from Shripney will drain away from the new road.

“We have been told there are culverts to allow that but we will have to wait and see until the road is in place,” she said.

Hundreds of visitors packed the event with its commercial stands included Middleton man Martin Coulton.

His home just escaped being flooded in June. He has taken measures to protect his property this winter. “I was fact finding and it was very interesting,” he said. “It’s good to see something being done.”