Arun flood forum to lead the way on a solution - but town councillors feel they should have been invited

A roundtable discussion on potential solutions to flooding was hailed as a success after it was held earlier this week, but members of Bognor Regis Town Council believe they should have been invited.
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The flood forum took place on Monday, and more meetings are set to take place every quarter. With representation from Arun District Council, West Sussex County Council, Southern Water and the Environment Agency, the Forum was designed to understand the issues behind the main flooding events in the district, the extent to which development and climate change have impacted these events, to recommend ‘practical and deliverable measures to reduce the impact of flooding on residents and businesses, to sign post funding opportunities which will help residents protect their properties, and develop proper channels of communication between local authorities and those at risk.

Cllr Matt Stanley, Leader of Arun District Council said: “We are excited about the opportunity this forum presents to engage with key stakeholders about flooding. Although we aren’t the lead authority, we are keen to take

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a pivotal role, collaborating with colleagues in other organisations, to make a difference.

The flood forum has been hailed a successThe flood forum has been hailed a success
The flood forum has been hailed a success

“For me, this is a chance to have conversations about the solutions and I look forward to seeing the productive and practical ways in which this can help the residents and businesses of Arun in these challenging circumstances.”

Alongside representatives from the Environment Agency, Southern Water and two local authorities, Monday’s meeting also involved councillors from selected parish councils. Even so, Bognor Regis Town Councillor Paul Wells has questioned why the town council wasn’t invited to the meeting, and submitted a motion for next week’s full council meeting encouraging members to interrogate the issue. Speaking to Sussex World, he said: “We cover a lot of businesses which have been flooded, and I just think we should have been invited to sit round the table and represent that local perspective.”

In a press release Arun District Council made clear that representatives of other groups not already present in the forum may be invited to attend in future if appropriate.

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"Communication is important to us,” a spokesperson said. “And as part of their work, the forum will also look at improving communication between the authorities involved in managing flood risk and representatives from flood affected communities.”