LETTER: Concerns about ‘assumptions’

In your Thursday, June 7, edition, you invited comments on the IKEA planning revisions, and my views are below:

The developer has submitted another planning revision which appears to be a well-funded and thought out strategy of attrition on the planning process.

I’m sure that further amendments will follow and the message will be that the developers are listening to the concerns of residents.

However, significant development of this area, in whatever guise, is a very bad idea. Fundamentally it is taking an area of net rainwater absorption and transforming it into a large rainwater catchment and run-off area.

The plans include a proposed floodwater pumping station. However, this form of protection makes a number of assumptions.

First, that it will work when it is under huge strain at a time of flood risk and, secondly, that the River Adur has capacity to accept this additional water.

Factor in prolonged rainfall and run-off from the South Downs, low atmospheric pressure and spring tides and there will be significant flooding. Please do not be misled by the developer’s spin that these plans improve flood resilience. Quite the contrary, they significantly increase the flood exposure to the surrounding areas.

As a loss adjuster working around the world I have seen the effects of river and coastal flooding in many countries including Brazil, Thailand, Queensland, Australia, New York, USA, and closer to home, with flash flooding in Yorkshire and more recently the Somerset Levels.

All of these have a terrible human cost, both to individuals and communities, and the common theme is that planners assumed the best-case, rather than the worst-case scenario, and relied too heavily on man-made flood defences, which frequently fail or prove ineffective.

Factor in the traffic chaos during development works and once the proposed IKEA store is operational and this will exacerbate what is already a very congested area, providing further traffic misery for residents of Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing and those travelling through the A27 corridor, and turning this green space area into something that resembles the Purley Way, in Croydon.

Hopefully, when the final version of the plans are submitted, our councillors will see sense and resist the pressure of the developer, and the lure of the IKEA business rates, and will look out for the interests of those that elected them to office and protect this green space area.

Martin Edmonds

Manor Road

Lancing

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