A project to uncover an underground urban chalk stream in Sompting and create a new public space has been awarded a £871,400 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The scheme – Enhancing Places, Inspiring Communities (EPIC) – will see a 1km section of Broadwater Brook uncovered across Sompting Brooks to create a new natural zone, which will be the largest area of public space away from the beach in the area.
The project is led by Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust in partnership with landowner Sompting Estate Trust, and further supported by the Environment Agency, Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd and Sompting Big Local.
Peter King, Project Manager at Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver this project which will make a real difference, not only to the local environment but also to the residents of the surrounding area.
“We are very grateful for the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the local community which we have received through developing our ideas and are now looking forward to turning the concept into a reality.”
The project would see the opening up of Sompting Brooks, which sits between the Dominion Way Industrial Estate in Worthing and Western Road in Sompting Village and is currently used for agricultural purposes.
Sompting Brooks, which is part of the privately owned Sompting Estate, has been owned and managed by the Crofts/Tristram family for more than 250 years.
Teville Stream, which meets with the Broadwater Brook, has been covered since the Second World War. It starts in West Street, Sompting and passes through GlaxoSmithKline in Southdown View Way, East Worthing.
The stream, which is currently three-quarters culverted, will be uncovered and directed away from contaminating sources to establish a clean water environment.
New trails will be created to make Broadwater Brook accessible to surrounding communities for the first time,
The natural habitat will be improved by the inclusion of two ponds, 1,000 trees, and 2.5km of hedgerow.
The project was granted an initial £67,900 worth of development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in April last year.
A wide range of public events will be held to raise awareness of water conservation, pollution and urban wildlife.
These activities will involve practical conservation, photography, heritage investigations and educational programmes based on water quality and ecological surveying.
Skill development workshops will train volunteers who can help with the maintenance and management of the site into the future.
The funding was made possible by National Lottery players and awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF, South East of England, said: “We’re delighted to support Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust to improve the natural environment of Broadwater Brook.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will allow people from West Sussex to reconnect with their natural heritage.”
The project is expected to run until September 2021.