Flooding fear for an overloaded rife

MORE water will be heading towards the Bognor Regis area, town councillors have been warned.

The additional flows will go into the Aldingbourne Rife, they were warned at Monday’s meeting.

The rife passes through North Bersted and Felpham before it reaches the sea besides Butlin’s.

Hugh Coster, the deputy chairman of Bognor Regis Civic Society, said anti-housing campaigners in Aldingbourne had been told by Southern Water it was aware extra volumes would go into the rife.

They would come from the Tangmere waste water treatment plant to which water from new housing planned around Chichester as well as Tangmere would be sent.

The plant currently puts 44 litres a second into the rife, said Mr Coster.

But the exact additional amount would be unknown until the final number of homes was decided, he pointed out to members.

Mr Coster said: “We now know we will have tons and tons of water pointed at us.

“This is new information we all ought to take to heart because it represents danger to this area.

“This is the most important issue facing this area because, if it’s not dealt with properly, we are going to have serious problems.”

Speaking during the public question time at the full council meeting, Mr Coster told councillors the civic society wanted all candidates in next May’s election to pledge they would call for an immediate temporary pause in all significant development until the flooding problems had been solved to the satisfaction of the insurance industry.

He also pointed out the area’s floods which had occurred in the past 20 years.

Schemes to stop them being repeated would fail, he claimed, without knowing more about the groundwater situation.

Only a programme to pump out the excess water at high volumes – such as happened in Holland – would achieve a lasting solution, he said.

Mr Coster has raised the issue at previous meetings of the civic society where his call has been backed by members. Councillors agreed to pass the matter to their environment and leisure committee for a more detailed examination.