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New flood anger

A Christmas flood warning has prompted Pagham residents to repeat their protests about future housing sites in the area.


Members of Pagham and Aldwick Greenfields Action Movement (Pagam), have campaigned for more than four years to fight the size of developments planned for Pagham, such as Sefter Field.


They believe the flooding around Bognor Regis earlier this week, which prompted an Environment Agency warning, proves their point.


Alan Pivett, the chairman of Pagam, said: “In the past week, we have seen vast swathes of land under water where the channel passes under Pagham Road.


“If these developments were to evolve, overflows of surface water would be added to the flow rates of the rife.


“When the sluice gates are shut at Pagham Harbour this would back up and breach the rife’s banks at every opportunity, pushing water out sideways to potentially flood homes and businesses.


“Add to this the thoroughly researched complications of global warming and rising sea levels, and we see a very short-sighted view of a disaster waiting to happen.


“This must be carefully re-assessed by the government to encourage landowners in such situations to use the land for its original designation.


“Events recently just prove yet again these are not one in 100 year events – as statisticians try to force upon us – but increasingly common in occurrence. Think 1994, 2000, 2012, 2016 and now 2019.”


Kia Trainer, the Sussex director for Campaign to Protect Rural England, said she believed the planning system needed a complete overhaul.


“There is a real disconnect between the national ambition to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and what is planned to be built across Sussex for the next 15 years.


“We should not be building in areas that flood and we should be doing much more to protect existing homes from the flooding which will be a consequence of our changing climate,” she said.


The flooding has affected residents across Bognor Regis in the past week.


In the lead up to Christmas, shoppers visiting the Shripney Tesco store had to wade their way through the car park due to a vast amount of overflowing water from the Aldingbourne Rife covering it almost entirely.


A spokesman from Tesco said on Monday afternoon: “Our Bognor Regis superstore is open and our colleagues are working hard and serving customers as normal.


“Unfortunately, due to the recent severe weather, the store car park is flooded and we are unable to open the car park to customers.


“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this causes.”

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