Confidence in Littlehampton’s £14m flood defences wanes

Pictured is B&B owner, Valerie Lee by her front doo in Rope Walk
Pictured is B&B owner, Valerie Lee by her front doo in Rope Walk

RESIDENTS and businesses in Rope Walk, Littlehampton, say their confidence in the new flood defences on the East Bank of the Arun have been rattled following Friday’s (January 3) flooding.

Valerie Lee has lived in the street for more than 25 years. She and her husband both run the Leeside bed and breakfast there.

Following Friday’s tidal flooding Valerie said she was fearful that the £14.5m defence works would leave neighbours on the western side of the river vulnerable.

She said: “Things do appear to be getting worse and we need better flood defences.

“It’s all on the east side. What’s going to happen then – we’re going to have this wall on the east side and when tides like this are coming in it’s a metre of the river that they’re actually using up.

“What’s going to happen is it’s going to hit that wall and it’s going to make even more water come over here.”

However, the Environment Agency has been quick to downplay the concerns, saying there was no need to worry.

Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency explained: “The Littlehampton Arun East Bank scheme will have no negative effect on the West Bank of the Arun at Littlehampton.

“We have undertaken modelling of the new East Bank flood defences, which has shown us that there will be no detrimental effect on the western bank.”

Mr Walker added: “We are working with businesses and residents to understand and resolve their concerns.”