Chronic Lewes flood problem ‘poses danger of accidents’

Alan Chapman: 'Vitally important that this problem is resolved'
Alan Chapman: 'Vitally important that this problem is resolved'

A chronic flooding problem in Lewes was the subject of a multi-agency meeting on Tuesday.

The situation in Nevill Road, at the junction with Christie Road, is said to be getting worse, posing a risk of accidents and adding to traffic congestion.

Members of Nevill Residents’ Association, and others, had asked to attend the meeting but are understood to have been refused.

The Association’s Joint Chair, Alan Chapman, said: “This is very disappointing as it is the residents and their elected representatives who have direct experience of the flooding both in terms of the frequency, changes in the nature of the flooding and most importantly the impact this continues to have.” He told Lewes District Council: “I appreciate that there may need to be some confidential exchanges between the agencies involved but that should not exclude the input from those affected.”

Mr Chapman said: “It is vitally important to the community that this problem is resolved given that it has been of concern for well over a decade and is getting worse.

“Since work was undertaken to improve the drainage, very little surface water finds its way to the green [Nevill Recreation Ground]. We suspect that a vital link allowing flood water on the road to run onto the green was blocked during this work.

“Since the resurfacing of the road the main point of flooding has moved south of Christie Road on the eastern side of the road and the drains continually silt up. On a number of occasions, when we have attended a flood, it was Southern Water who resolved the matter by unblocking a highways drain.

“We have recorded far more flooding events in the past year than before. It causes traffic to move towards the centre of the road, increasing the risk of accidents and adding to congestion in the area as traffic has to take it in turns to proceed. Worst of all is the impact it has on pedestrians who have no alternative but run the risk of a soaking by traffic travelling too fast through the flood. There is no reasonable alternative for them.”

A Lewes District Council spokesman said: “Officers from Lewes District Council, East Sussex County Council, Southern Water and the South Downs National Park Authority met this week to discuss flooding issues in the Nevill Road area.

“An investigation into the causes and action required to manage the risks posed by flooding will be undertaken.

“When this work is completed the situation will be discussed with the Nevill Residents’ Association.”