Summit reveals further work to help Lancing flood plight

An MP said the issue of flooding in Lancing still needs to be '˜managed better' following a summit to tackle the ongoing sewage problems.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 11:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 11:36 am
W07183H14-FloodGrindsteadLane Floods Grinstead Lane. Southbound lane closure on Grinstead Lane in Lancing, leading onto the A27, due to flooding. Lancing. SUS-140214-155042001

Grinstead Lane and the surrounding roads have been plagued by flooding and the sight of raw sewage in and around their homes for years.

In January 2013, MP Tim Loughton brought together representatives from Southern Water, the Environment Agency, Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council to develop a strategy.

This led to the Ten Point Action Plan and Mr Loughton said ‘a good deal of progress has been made’ in the following years.

On Friday, February 26, Mr Loughton reunited the agencies and councils at a ‘flooding summit’ to discuss what has been achieved.

This included a grant from the county council’s flood fund, Operation Watershed, which enabled clearance of all the ditches between Grinstead and Shoreham Airport.

A management plan was formulated by the district and county councils in October 2015 to find a long term solution.

This is now being taken forward as part of the upcoming six-year capital plan works.

Annual ditch maintenance has been carried out by the district council to remove large amounts of rubbish including shopping trolleys and canoes.

Mr Loughton said: “This has been done by Adur as a gesture of goodwill, although the responsibility lies with residents and riparian owners.”

Further clean ups are planned for 2016/17. Shoreham Airport will also be maintaining its ditches.

Southern Water has upgraded its pumping station in Grinstead Lane which had been prone to failure and is now working much better although often remains at full capacity during periods of heavy rainfall, said Mr Loughton.

The water firm has tested and sealed 387m of drains in the Manor Close and Manor Way area. Around 100m of drains around Hayley Road and Lisher Road have been lined, and manholes sealed with a further 316m of sewer drains sealed from infiltration.

Further such work and inspections are planned when the current high water levels have subsided.

The complete ‘Infiltration Reduction Plan’ for Lancing will be consulted on with local people by Southern Water shortly, subject to approval by the Environment Agency. Over £300,000 has been invested so far into this scheme.

Although the steps taken in the past three years have prevented more serious flooding, Mr Loughton said it has not completely solved the problem.

“It is important that a long term and sustainable maintenance plan is agreed between the local agencies, councils and residents and then communicated properly so everyone knows what to expect and how to cope with prolonged periods of heavy rainfall,” he said.

He added that the next priority is to take forward the Action Plan from the Surface Water Management survey and turn it into an implementation plan within the next three months when funding is expected to be available.

Mr Loughton will be holding a follow up meeting to monitor and report on further progress.

He said: “In the longer term however these problems show how unwise it would be to build any substantial development on the New Monks Farm area given the fragility of the existing flooding environment.”

An ambitious plan to build 600 homes on New Monks Farm has been looming for a few years, but councillors have previously raised concern about its potential affect on flooding in the area.

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