Former leader of Arun District Council calls for greater scrutiny after floods came "perilously close" to robbing 30,000 homes and a hospital of power

The former leader of Arun District councillor has called for greater scrutiny of the Environmental Agency, West Sussex County Council and other partners after this week’s floods came “perilously close” to causing a power cut which would have affected 30,000 homes and a hospital.
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Updating residents on the situation in Arun District following this week’s floods, Cllr Shaun Gunner (Con) revealed that a substation which was almost flooded on Shripney Road provides power to approximately 30,000 homes and Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital.

Over the weekend, parts of Shripney Road were closed off as members of the fire service fought to contain the flowing water and erect flood defences.

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He also revealed that the nearby Tesco Superstore will remain closed until Monday due to a loss of power. The superstore has also had to close its car park thanks to serious flooding.

Flooding in Bersted over the weekend. Photo: Eddie Mitchell.Flooding in Bersted over the weekend. Photo: Eddie Mitchell.
Flooding in Bersted over the weekend. Photo: Eddie Mitchell.

The news prompted Cllr Gunner to call for greater scrutiny of the public bodies responsible. He wrote: “In the coming weeks and months, questions and scrutiny need to take place of Environment Agency, Southern Water, Ofwat, West Sussex County Council (as the Highways and Flood Authority) and various landowners who all have varying levels of responsibility for what has panned out and some of whose decisions may have made the situation worse.”

Following a visit with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb, Cllr Gunner also described the “worrying” situation at Climping beach, where the sea wall collapsed under harsh weather conditions over the weekend.

"The bund there was ruined, the car park gone and the beach overwhelmed. The beach is unstable and unsafe with iron works sticking out and there is, in fact, nowhere to park,” he said.

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"The Environment Agency are valiantly working to rebuild the bund but it is difficult to see - without a multi-million pound injection of cash - how the current line can be held.”

Writing on Facebook, Cllr Shaun Gunner (Con), also gave kudos to colleagues working hard to assist residents and businesses affected by this week’s weather, and reassured residents that Arun District Council is doing its best to work “as close to normal as possible” over the days to come, despite the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).