Flood warning for Eastergate homes site

FARMER Paul Hellyer has warned building on his land will worsen flooding around Bognor Regis.

Mr Hellyer’s family has lived at Manor Farm since 1937 but the site has been earmarked by Arun District Council for at least 2,000 homes in the next 15 years.

Mr Hellyer used this month’s Bognor Regis Civic Society meeting to show some slides of some of his waterlogged fields.

He said large-scale building would make the situation worse.

“Bersted, Felpham and Bognor are the areas that will be suffering,” he warned. “They already get some flooding and that will definitely get worse because water flows downwards. Even in my lifetime, the flooding has got worse. It could be for other reasons, like climate change. The ground is absolutely saturated all the time. This is not run-off from houses. That’s water coming out of the ground.”

He said Pond Field on the farm had three to five natural springs. Other areas could be some 3ft deep in water. The Aldingbourne Rife was up to 6ft deep.

Karl Roberts, Arun’s assistant director of planning and economic regeneration, said the Environment Agency was satisfied with the council’s proposal.

The planned scheme would feature drainage systems to absorb excess water like those used for new homes in North Bersted and Felpham.

“The new housing didn’t flood because of those systems,” he said. “They keep the water within the area.”

But he warned Arun would have to find another location for the 2,000 homes if Eastergate was ruled out when a planning inspector decided the strategy. “It does not mean the number of houses is going to get less. It just means we have to find another place to put it.”