Flood risk warning from group

CAMPAIGNERS have warned a vote for housing in the Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate areas could be rejected.

The Villages Action Group said the approval by Arun district councillors for the 2,000 homes might be overturned at the examination in public into the council’s land use proposals.

The group commissioned a report by national drainage and flood mitigation experts Richard Allitt Associates into the flooding risk posed by the intended housing.

This concluded it was premature to consider the land for housing before two major studies about surface water and the Aldingbourne Rife were finished.

Mike Turner, the group’s chairman, said: “Our key concern is that the plan will be found unsound at the examination in public because the council ignored clear evidence of flood risk when the decision to locate 2,000 houses in the village was taken just after national planning guidance to avoid areas of flood risk had been strengthened.

“This would delay the plan further and open the district up to what councillors have been trying to avoid – a developers’ free for all.”

The cost of lessening the flood risk could soak up money intended to be spent on other services like schools, he said.

Group member Gordon Bell helped to commission the report.

He said it supplied up to date information rather than the 2008 document used by the council. Flooding in the past six years showed the importance of using the latest data.