Southern Water pumping stations removed from Hastings seafront but they could return

A pumping station on the beach at Hastings, that blocked a section of the seafront, has now been removed but Southern Water cannot rule out its return later in the year.

Southern Water placed pumps on Pelham beach, at Denmark Place, after the town centre suffered extensive flooding in January last year and again at the end of last October.

On both occasions, Priory Meadow shopping centre was closed , along with other areas of the town centre and homes evacuated as flooding struck following heavy rainfall. Businesses were left counting the cost following both incidents.

The water company provided a walk-way after people complained of having to get across the stony beach with pushchairs or wheelchairs.

The promenade is now clear. The walk-way across the beach was still there on Sunday but Southern Water say they will be removing this soon. The high sided walk-way blocked views of the beach and a popular metal sculpture of a Viking ship, created by local artist Leigh Dyer.

Southern Water said it has now repaired the outfall on Pelham beach to make sure it does not become blocked and is clear during periods of heavy rainfall. It has also carried out further work including repairing a flap valve and sealing the South Terrace manhole.

An investigation carried out on behalf of East Sussex County Council, found the manhole was one of the primary causes of major flooding in Hastings town centre last October. The report also said heavy rainfall in the weeks leading up to last October’s event was also a primary cause.

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “In terms of whether the pumping station could ever return, it could do if it was necessary to protect homes and businesses. It all depends on the weather and whether the work we have done is successful, for instance if very severe weather was forecast we may have to consider again in future.”

They added: “There are no plans at this time to install the pumps again next winter in this location, but as I said this could happen in certain circumstances – but the team don’t expect this to happen.

"The walkway will be removed once all other equipment has been taken away and the new manhole cover has been installed.”