Do the flood prevention work, county is being told

A REFUSAL to take charge of up to £500,000-worth of flood alleviation work around Bersted has been decided by parish councillors.

They agreed uanimously on Tuesday to send a strongly worded letter to West Sussex County Council which will decline to apply for funding to help pay for the extensive schemes.

Parish council clerk Fiona Dobbs said ten projects, such as ditch clearances, had been identified in the area. They include Fairlands, North Bersted Street and Shripney Road.

“There will be more work coming out of this work that is to be done,” she said. “It’s far too complicated and there are too many people from other agencies required to have an input into this.

“I don’t the capability to do it. It needs the county council to be in charge. The parish council also doesn’t have the power to do the work. By taking this on, we could have the opposite effect and compound the problem.”

The county council had the authority and the professional staff to take on the schemes as it was the lead flood authority, she said.

Cllr Brian Green said he believed the total cost of the schemes would be £250,000–500,000 and would not be covered by any grants which might be received. It would cost £60,000 to do some clearance work alone.

Cllr Gez Watson said: “If we start meddling around with this, and start doing things which go wrong, it will cost us a fortune.”

Cllr Michael Shadbolt said: “I feel this has been put upon us and it should not have been.”

Cllr Brian Knight, the council’s vice-chairman, said it had done all that was wanted of it after the flooding in the summer of 2012. This had included setting up a ditches and drains committee with residents.

“The parish council has done everything it was asked to do to identify the problems.

“It’s now for this council to write to the county council to say what the problems are and ask them what they are going to do about it. They have the powers,” he said.