Lack of '˜common sense' over flood risk in New Monks Farm development

Plans to build IKEA and 600 homes on a Lancing floodplain were strongly opposed yesterday (February 8) as councillors and developers debated the prospect of flooding in Adur.

Historic flooding at New Monks Farm. Picture supplied by Bill Freeman
Historic flooding at New Monks Farm. Picture supplied by Bill Freeman

The topic was discussed on the last day of a two-week inquiry into the Adur Local Plan - the district council’s vision for the area’s future.

David Johnson, chair of the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) strongly opposed the New Monks Farm development in Lancing, which could see IKEA moving in, along with 600 new homes, and said there was a lack of ‘common sense’.

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He said: “If common sense already suggests that we have problems with flooding – why are we considering putting 600 new homes and IKEA on New Monks Farm – is this going to make it better?

“If you look at the area as a whole, there is flooding on a regular basis and people have seen this in the last few weeks. This is a human issue we are talking about and these homes are for people who are concerned about flooding.”

James Appleton, head of economic growth at Adur and Worthing councils, said West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and engineers had raised ‘significant concerns’ over the development, and the team was ‘satisfied’ there was a ‘technical solution’.

Bill Freeman, chairman of Adur Floodwatch, highlighted the problem of surface water, which he said was ‘not justified’ in the plan.

He said: “The proof of measurement is not there and to the community, this is a great concern.

“What flooding does to people’s lives is quite appalling and I have seen the stress of sewage going into people’s gardens.

“This is quite a serious issue we are talking about here.”

Boyer Planning representing Hyde New Homes defended its proposal to develop New Salts Farm, in Lancing, which could see 49 homes, a public open space and cycle access added to the green space, despite issues raised about the risk of flooding at the site.

The council does not believe the land is suitable for development and has not included it in the plan.

Boyer executive director, Andrew Williams, said the need for housing ‘outweighed the flood risk’.

“We believe we have provided the information and data and have a robost solution,” he said.

But, Ray Drabble, of WSCC, said the the developer’s plans to deal with flooding was ‘not acceptable’.

He said: “There is no confidence in the outputs and there are concerns about the model used.”

Flood risk is a significant issue in Adur due to its coastal location and the River Adur bisecting the district.

The large area of open land between Shoreham and Lancing, as well as more urban areas including parts of Shoreham town centre are in areas with a high probability of flooding.

Developers also argued flood risk had been dealt with at another site not included in the plan.

A planning application for the Shoreham Gateway site, land south-west of the Shoreham flyover, has been submitted.

Plans include changes to the £25million Adur Tidal Walls flood defence scheme, which the site’s promoters believed would deal with the risk.

Robert Thornton, of Thornton Architecture and Design, said the Environment Agency had agreed to the alteration.

Karen Tipper, associate planner at ECE Planning, said: “We believe we have demonstrated a technical solution to this.”

Government inspector, David Hogger, will now check the soundness of Adur District Council’s Local Plan.

His decision will be published at a later date.

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