‘WHERE’S our money?’, a Pagham parish councillor has asked.
Cllr Ray Radmall said more than £70,000 had gone missing from an offer of much-needed help for the area’s flood defences.
He has been told by West Sussex County Council it is willing to give £28,000 from its Kick Start fund towards the work.
But Cllr Radmall insisted the county originally stated £100,000 would be given to Pagham to be spent by the end of this month.
He said: “I believe this money has been withdrawn. We need it because we have to get on with work on our beach as soon as possible.
“We have to get a scoping report completed on the environmental impact of cutting a channel in the Church Norton Spit. That has to be done before we can do any work.”
It is believed the county council has told the parish council it had definitely committed only £28,000. This was because the money had to be spent by March 31 and all available funds had been given to schemes that could be completed by then.
But the county council has said it is willing to work with partners to address future flood risks and invited Cllr Radmall for talks.
The matter was raised at last week’s meeting of the joint western Arun area committee of parish, district and county councils.
Committee member Cllr Dawn Hall, a district councillor for Pagham and Rose Green and parish councillor, said: “The persistent winter storms we have all had to endure have brought into renewed focus the prospect of climate change and the pressing need for a renewed precautionary approach to all aspects of flooding.
“Recent events have been a wake-up call. Pagham has witnessed significant destruction and erosion of its frontline defences such that a breach into homes and businesses is now a growing probability.
“Will the county council reconsider the premature withdrawal of the Kick Start grant to the parish council as we are informed the essential works necessary prior to next winter will not be implemented if the timescale and funding for the range of approvals cannot be met?”
The committee also agreed to a call by Pagham Beach Residents’ Association chairman David Huntley to ask the government to change the analysis which decides the funds for coast protection works. This favoured urban areas.