Meeting will help to stop more floods in Bersted

A MEETING later this month will see further steps taken to help protect Bersted from flooding.

The session will be the latest get-together hosted by Bersted Parish Council for its drains and ditches initiative.

It will bring parish councillors and volunteers from their flooding working groups together with officers from West Sussex and Arun councils to share their knowledge.

The meeting follows one on March 28. Parish council chairman Patrick Hastings said it had gone well and established Bersted as one of the leaders in the subject in West Sussex.

“The next meeting will have the same sort of agenda as the last one. It will get the groups together and they can decide where to go from there,” he told a parish council’s meeting on Tuesday.

In a report, he said: “Already, local people in wellies have been stalking along water trails, mapping their paths in the parish, gathering useful information, much of which had been lost over the years of development and lack of care for our watercourses.”

West Sussex County Council is using its Watershed project to support anti-flooding initiatives in the community with advice and possible funding.

“Bersted is recognised as being to the forefront and, if we are successful in gaining financial support, it will be largely due to the parishioners who have been willing to get out there and help.”

Cllr Jonathan Spencer told councillors he would be attending a meeting in Fairlands about flooding with Arun and West Sussex councils today.

“We have opened a can of worms. There are problems everywhere we seem to be looking,” he said.

These extended to the new site six housing development, with a ditch close to Berry Lane which had been dug and had water at both ends but was too shallow to let the water flow through.

Cllr Gez Watson said she had walked the length of Shripney Lane between the A29 Shripney Road and the new relief road.

“Every single one of the culverts on both sides of the road is blocked with silt or undergrowth,” she said.

“There are little pools of stagnant water.”

She said she had been told by the county council to report the problem to the Environment Agency for action.

But Cllr Ann Rapnik said the agency would not be present at the meeting on April 25.

“It’s going to take time to clear those culverts,” she said. “We have to raise the fact these culverts are blocked as a matter of urgency.”

The North Bersted and Shripney area has been one of the worst affected areas for flooding around Bognor Regis in recent years.

Both Shripney Road and Chichester Road, around the Royal Oak pub – the ‘pink pub’ – are among those sites which have frequently been under water after heavy rainfall.

This has caused problems for residents who have been unable to flush their toilets because the foul water drains have become unable to cope with the excess water.