Village flooding fear in Pagham

Autumn rain could cause Pagham to flood.

The warning has come from parish councillor Nathan Dellicott during a debate about the high water level in the Pagham Rife.

He said the waterway was still clogged by silt, though the Environment Agency had cleared the weeds from the waterway.

“Everything the agency said they would do, they have done. No silt was taken out. They are doing a report about whether the rife needs de-silting.

“They just cleared the weeds. Almost immediately, the water went down by about a foot but it is still very, very high. One can’t help but wonder that, if there is a reasonable amount of rain, that it would come back up again.

“You are looking at a number of houses flooding during that period of rain. It’s not just farms with water meadows.”

Among those affected would be Barfoots of Botley, where he is the farming director at the Pagham Road site, as well as others who border the rife and the nearby Forebridge Rife.

“We are not anti-environment, anti-reed beds or anti-birds. But a balance has to be achieved between the needs of nature and the needs of people,” he said.

A meeting has been arranged with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb tomorrow (Friday 21) at the rife.

This will be attended by farmers as well as parish council chairman Ray Radmall and the area’s county councillor, Mike Coleman.

Cllr Radmall said the reed beds were planted to improve the natural habitats in Pagham Harbour nature reserve. The silting they were causing would be a serious problem if Chichester was at risk of flooding.

Its flood alleviation scheme relied on diverting the overflowing River Lavant into Pagham.

“That would cause an extra four cubic metres of water a second to build up on those fields,” he said.

“If the water is unable to be dispersed, then it will back up quite badly. If the reed beds are creating a serious problem, then it needs to be solved.

“We can’t have a flood elevation scheme where the water can’t get away.”