Mouse Lane misery: county council can’t fix the flooding

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The campaign for a flood-prone lane in Steyning to be fixed has hit a stumbling block after the head of West Sussex County Council said it was currently unable to solve the problem.

On April 26, fed-up residents of Mouse Lane conducted a survey of 237 drivers who used the road between 7.30am and 6.30pm and handed out fliers asking them to drive down the lane at a ‘voluntary 5mph speed limit’.

The flooding levels seen here are typical of the last six months of year, said residents

The flooding levels seen here are typical of the last six months of year, said residents

They claim that road conditions are hazardous in the winter, with pot holes and debris concealed under flood water, and that the high retaining walls on the north side of the lane are being damaged by waves of water washing away the mortar.

In response to a letter sent to her by residents, calling for the local authority to install better drainage and fix the surface, council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “I do acknowledge the frustrations of residents of Mouse Lane and appreciate that the community is active in trying to finding a solution. Local landowners do have a responsibility to help mitigate flooding issues downstream from their land and West Sussex County Council, as the highway authority, has a responsibility to maintain the highway to facilitate the safe passing of traffic.

“Unfortunately, the resources we have do need to be prioritised and at present, we are unable to provide a solution to the problem, but will continue to address any imminent safety matters as they arise.

Lisa Lewis-Yallop of Mouse Lane helped organise the survey. She said: “Most drivers agreed that something needs to be done urgently about the poor state of the road and the flooding, as it is dangerous.”

Most drivers agreed that something needs to be done urgently about the poor state of the road and the flooding, as it is dangerous

Lisa Lewis-Yallop

Several reported damage to their cars this winter from submerged pot holes and debris, particularly tyre blow-outs. Many walkers and residents expressed concern at the speed cars have been going and talked of ‘near-misses’ with children and pets while using the lane.

Since the survey, Lisa said she has noticed people driving more carefully in the built-up areas. The resident group plans to get some permanent road safety signs erected, and is currently collecting donations from their fellow neighbours.

Damage to a retaining wall in Mouse Lane from water splashback. Picture: Lisa Lewis-Yallop

Damage to a retaining wall in Mouse Lane from water splashback. Picture: Lisa Lewis-Yallop

A resident trying to exit her home in Mouse Lane, Steyning. Picture: Lisa Lewis-Yallop

A resident trying to exit her home in Mouse Lane, Steyning. Picture: Lisa Lewis-Yallop