A MAJOR £25million flood defence scheme which will protect Adur from a one-in-three-hundred-year flood was unanimously approved by councillors on Monday.
The Adur Tidal Walls scheme, led by the Environment Agency, will protect 2,200 homes and 169 businesses from flooding.
Adur District Council’s planning committee approved the plans, following detailed discussions of the project’s ten sections at the Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road.
But due to the complexity of the plans, Environment Agency representatives admitted there were still ‘challenges’ and negotiations to be completed to appease concerned residents.
Adur and Worthing councils head of economic growth James Appleton said: “It is a hugely important application for the town of Shoreham and for Adur in terms of the flood risk.”
“It is a hugely complex application. There are a lot of things that still need to be thrashed out as part of negotiation and those discussions are ongoing.”
Work on the west bank of the Adur will stretch from Shoreham Fort to Ricardo.
East bank work will begin west of Coronation Green, ending with the 1.6 metre raising of the A283, south of the Cloverleaf roundabout. The roadworks could take up to ten weeks.
Concerns over the scheme were raised by houseboat owners, including issues of safety, access, communication and the construction phase.
But the primary issue was maintenance, with houseboat owners set to take on riparian ownership of the sections near their boats.
John Potter, representing 44 houseboat owners, said they were ‘never told’ about the issue in ten years of discussions with the Environment Agency.
Project manager James Fuller said it was ‘regrettable’ there had been misunderstandings over the issue and acknowledged construction would have a ‘significant impact’ on the houseboat owners.
But he indicated that the agency would step in, should there be major failings in the flood defences.
Speaking after the meeting, Adur District Council cabinet member for regeneration Pat Beresford said: “I am exceptionally pleased and relieved because the time scales of the operation are so narrow that we really needed the permission to be granted last night.
“There was a risk until permission was granted that the money could go elsewhere.”