MP raises concerns about house building and flooding

ARUNDEL and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has questioned the adequacy of local infrastructure to support planned housing numbers in West Sussex following recent flooding.

The MP raised the issue in the Commons on Monday with communities secretary Eric Pickles, who was answering questions on recent flooding.

Mr Herbert said: “My constituency has experienced some river flooding, but it has not been as severe as that in other areas.

“However, there are particular problems with surface water flooding in the local villages, including the very unpleasant effects of foul water and overflowing sewerage systems.

“A substantial amount of new housing is proposed in those areas, at a level that local authorities consider to be unsustainable. Can my Rt Hon friend assure me that in setting housing numbers, local authorities will be able to take into account the adequacy of the infrastructure to support new housing, so that the current problems do not become worse in the future?”

In response, Eric Pickles said housing decisions needed to be made ‘on the basis of scientific fact’.

He added the rising level of groundwater will continue to cause problems in constituencies until well into June, ‘even if from now on things start to shine’.

Arundel has been one of the areas to experience surface water flooding in recent weeks, while other parts of Arun have also suffered from rising water levels.

Last month, Arun District Council decided to reconsider its proposed strategic sites for development, partly as a result of flooding in the area between Barnham and Eastergate where a new town of 2,060 houses was proposed. Mr Herbert has been an outspoken critic of ‘unsustainable’ development targets.