Littlehampton flooding: affected business owner 'very worried' about the future

A business owner affected by the flooding in Littlehampton's west bank said he was 'very worried' about the future.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 12:26 pm

Ferry Road in Littlehampton and large swathes of farmland nearby were submerged after the sea swept in over Climping Beach yesterday (February 10) thanks to Storm Ciara and the high tide, leaving hundreds of residents and businesses at risk of flooding.

Read more:

Littlehampton flooding: drivers rescued by emergency servicesPreviously, the Environment Agency said it could not afford to repair groynes in Climping Beach, which were damaged during Storm Brendan in January, sparking fears of flooding which appear to have been realised.

The flooding in Ferry Road, Littlehampton
The flooding in Ferry Road, Littlehampton

Today (February 11) Robert Boyce, who runs the Littlehampton Shipyard in Rope Walk, said he had to park in Littlehampton town centre and cross the river to get to work because Ferry Road was still flooded.

He said he had been down to Climping Beach and the sea defences were 'completely gone' - and added that there was nowhere now for more flooding to go with the fields being saturated.

"It is going to be really bad. I'm very, very worried," he said.

He was planning to take matters into his own hands and create makeshift defences from shipping containers filled with shingle as a short-term fix.

Robert Boyce, pictured with his wife Fiona, who also run the Littlehampton Ferry

But he added: "The tides are higher next month. This will happen again and again; there is nothing to stop it now.

"It is absolutely vital to put defences in, otherwise hundreds of people will lose their homes and hundreds of businesses will be lost as well."

At a meeting of Arun District Council's cabinet last night, leader James Walsh gave an update on the situation to fellow councillors.

He said: "Climping Beach (which is currently an Environment Agency (EA) managed frontage) has suffered in recent weeks from a deterioration of the defensive banks east of Climping Street, and the beach west of the Car Park has also suffered.

Nearby farmland has become waterlogged

"This is regrettable but not unexpected - the Coastal Defence Strategy sets out the likely management options for the frontage; unlimited, ongoing maintenance is not seen as sustainable under the EA's funding framework.

"Recent tides, especially today's lunch-time tide which had a positive surge of approximately 600mm (2') has seen further considerable degradation of the defences. This has allowed extensive flooding of the fields south of the A259, including Ferry Road.

"Damage has also occurred to the wall fronting the car park, allowing seawater to flood around the properties at the southern end of Climping Street.

"Arun Engineering staff have attended and report that no properties suffering internal flooding; several (if not all) have deployed their own flood resilience measures.

"Climping Street and Ferry Road have been closed by the Police, Coastguard and Fire & Rescue who are in attendance.

"Waters will recede in due course via the various watercourses draining to the river and the sea. However, it is unclear how long the area will be flooded for and also whether the flood is solely as a result of flow from the open coast or if there was contributory flooding from the river (a connected flood-cell)."