The Environment Agency will begin site investigations along the River Arun in Littlehampton next month in preparation for this high priority £12 million flood defence scheme being built in the town.
The Environment Agency, in partnership with Arun District Council, began developing the scheme in 2009 to improve the tidal flood defences along the east bank of the River Arun in Littlehampton, West Sussex. The defences between the mouth of the harbour and the A259 were identified as being in need of improvement and funding has been secured to move the project forward. This will include ground condition surveys, detailed design of the flood defence walls and procurement of millions of pounds worth of construction materials.
All the partners in the project team have been working hard to ensure this high priority scheme is built. Despite the challenging economic climate and a change in the way that funding for such projects is awarded, the project is expected to start construction late next year. Whilst this is later than the partners had anticipated we are now able to progress with the project with minimum impact to residents, businesses and the environment.
The ambitious scheme will see a new flood defence wall being created along the riverside that will reduce the risk of flooding to more than 1,900 residential and over 500 commercial properties over the next 100 years. The project will also regenerate the area around Pier Road and Arun Parade in the town as a result of the additional £1.3 million being provided by Arun District Council to introduce significant enhancements to the scheme.
Next month works will begin on ground investigations to determine the soil conditions below Arun Parade and Pier Road. These investigations are vital for the design of the foundations for the new tidal flood defence wall before any steel sheet piling is ordered or installed on site. The ground surveys are planned to start when most of the school holidays are over in early September and are scheduled to be completed by the end of October. Work will begin at Arun Parade and progress to Pier Road and continue along the scheme frontage to just upstream of the A259 road bridge.
Andrew Gilham, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager, said: “When completed this scheme will provide a vital defence to help protect against future tidal floods. We are pleased to be delivering it in partnership with Arun District Council, Littlehampton Harbour Board and West Sussex County Council.
“Local knowledge and feedback have been invaluable in developing this tidal flood defence scheme and we want communities to continue to remain involved throughout. We cannot prevent all flooding and erosion but we believe what we are proposing is the best way to manage the tidal risk to Littlehampton in the future.”
Councillor Paul Dendle, Arun’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services with responsibility for coastal protection, said: “We are committed to the delivery of this scheme. It will not only protect properties but also add to the regeneration of the town and increase tourism. The current programme will mean that disruption to local businesses will be kept to a minimum with the all important 2013 and 2014 summer seasons unaffected for local residents, traders and visitors to the area. West Sussex County Council can also work with the Environment Agency to complete any necessary works to the highway at the same time.
“It also increases the opportunity of bringing together the three main components of the scheme, that is the flood defences, landscape enhancements and potential highways works, together at one time and in one contract.
“By working in this way we are doing all we can to support our local tourism businesses which need all the support we, the Environment Agency and WSCC can give, particularly in the current financial climate.”
Local residents and businesses will be kept informed throughout the duration of the project with regular updates on the Environment Agency’s web site and with newsletters delivered to those properties directly affected by the works.
The current plans are available to view on the Environment Agency’s website: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/114650.aspx
For more general information on how to prepare for flooding and the latest flood warnings in force visit: www.environment-agency.gov.uk or ring Floodline on 08459 881188.