Solution in sight for Shoreham road flooding issue

Will Flewett at the junction of Southdown Road and Western Road where the road floods regularly
Will Flewett at the junction of Southdown Road and Western Road where the road floods regularly

A campaigning resident has said solving the issue of ‘chronic’ road flooding under a railway bridge in Shoreham will make a ‘huge difference’ to the community.

John Street resident Will Flewett’s comments come as Network Rail revealed a plan of action to prevent future flooding on the road at the junction of Southdown Road and Western Road.

Mr Flewett first highlighted the ‘chronic’ flooding at the site, which he said occurs after heavy rainfall and can leave residents wading through water several inches deep for days on end, in November 2016.

With work to address the issue now finally planned and due to start at the end of March, the 64-year-old resident said: “After such a long time, it’s really good news.

“I think it’s going to make a huge difference to the local community, for both pedestrians and road users.

“I look forward to the work being done and completed.”

The problem had been recurring on the road – a key route through the town – for at least 15 years without any authority taking responsibility, Mr Flewett said.

While flooding at the site had not been so severe this winter, he said: “Once or twice it’s been an issue and made it very difficult for pedestrians and especially the elderly to navigate the area without getting absolutely soaked.

“We’ve got the rest of January and the winter to get through.

“Hopefully this will be the last winter we have to endure these horrible conditions.”

The land under the bridge is owned by Network Rail and is within a conservation area.

A spokesman from Network Rail said: “After investigating the flooding issues on Southdown Road, we found that it drains into a ditch on railway land, squeezed in between the steep embankment carrying the railway and a listed flint wall.

“Over the years the ditch has become clogged with silt but its location means it is very difficult to clear without closing the road and bringing cranes in to reach over the wall.

“We have now gained permission to put a gate into the wall, to a design approved by the local authority, which will allow us to tackle the problem and keep the ditch running freely in future.

“We aim to get the gate in place by the end of March and the work will follow soon after.”