Flood-blighted residents in Lancing meet with senior council officers

Even after rainfall has subsided, pools of water remain in roads within the West Beach estate W08605H13
Even after rainfall has subsided, pools of water remain in roads within the West Beach estate W08605H13

RESIDENTS who have suffered years of flood misery met with senior officers from West Sussex County Council to discuss how the problems could be improved.

Geoff Lowry, head of highways and transport, and Barry Candy, highways manager, spoke at the annual meeting of the West Beach Residents’ Association on Thursday, April 11.

Residents in West Beach, Lancing, which comprises a number of roads that are unadopted by the county council, have battled with flooded drains, saturated streets and even human waste coming close to their doors.

Recently, the county council launched Operation Watershed – an £8.25 million scheme aimed at helping some of the most flood-hit areas in the county.

But many in West Beach feel they have not been helped by that money.

Instead, they said the underlying causes of flooding were not being addressed, such as blocked drains and soakaways, ditches that have not been cleared in years, and roads that have fallen into disrepair.

Geoff Patmore, vice-chairman of the residents’ association, said he felt the meeting had been “very postive”.

He said: “At least we now have a respectful dialogue with officers who are dealing with our problems.

“The resolutions might be a long way off, but it’s taken us years to get to this point.”

On the night, questions were read out to Mr Lowry and Mr Candy, who spoke about the significant investment being made by the county council.

Residents said one of the easiest ways for the county council to ease the problems would be to unblock the drains – something Mr Candy said the council could not do, because of the private ownership of the roads.

Mr Patmore suggested the county council unblock the drains and bill Landstone Ltd, which owns the roads.

Mr Candy and Mr Lowry could not confirm if that was possible but said they would look at the suggestion.

Brian Morgan, principal community officer at the county council, said there was a £1.25 million pot of money that could be used by residents to help them be more prepared to deal with the flooding themselves.

He urged residents to bid for some of the money, adding: “The idea is we can get you more prepared to deal with the flooding.”