Councillor investigates cause of 'appalling' Sompting flooding

Flooding in Sompting. Photo: Maryann Blunden
Flooding in Sompting. Photo: Maryann Blunden

A councillor has resolved to discover the cause of the 'appalling' flooding which affected residents in Sompting on Friday.

During the heavy rainfall, residents in Halewick Lane, Sompting, were hit with a river of brown, muddy water running down the hill onto the A27, which one resident described as ‘6ft-wide’.

Flooding in Sompting. Photo: Debbie Tricker

Flooding in Sompting. Photo: Debbie Tricker

The resident, who filmed the phenomenon, said the torrent carried chalk, rubble and bricks which she feared would damage cars parked down the lane.

Speaking at 6.15pm, she said: “As I look at it now, it is still running pretty fast. All the drains are blocked and it is now about 5ft wide, although it is much less violent."

Resident Debbie Tricker said there was ‘muddy water all over grass path and pavement’.

Maryann Blunden said: “Never seen it so bad! We’ve been left with thick mud and rocks all over the road.”

Phill Collins blamed the drains, which he said had not been cleared.

Councillor George Barton said he went down to Halewick Lane on Friday along with Councillor Paul Mansfield and together they helped dig the mud away from people’s doorsteps.

Mr Barton said the situation was ‘appalling’ and has since been trying to find answers as to what had happened.

“We are going to get to the bottom of the cause,” he said. “I’m determined that this must not happen again.”

A spokesman from West Sussex County Council said: “During Friday’s torrential downpours, a team from West Sussex Highways attended and cleared flooding from the carriageway.

“The issue was caused by the recent works at the old landfill site where topsoil had been stockpiled.

“The team reported that muddy water was running from nearby farmland and silt was being deposited into the gullies.

“The crew was unable to inspect some gullies due to parked cars but will return to do so soon.

“We routinely cleanse gullies on a cyclical basis, frequencies depend on location and our contractor has to ensure gullies are less than 50 per cent silted.

“We can confirm that the gullies were last routinely cleansed in September 2017.”

Mr Barton said he was working with the relevant people to determine why water had come down in such volumes from land on top of the hill, where work to replace contaminated soil at the old landfill with fresh soil is underway.

He was due to meet with a representative from Browns, the contractor carrying out the work, and the South Downs National Park, which granted permission for the work, this morning (Wednesday, August 15) to investigate the issue.

Mr Barton added that the blocked gullies in the road had not helped the situation.

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