Worthing estate residents in row with primary school over flooding - 'Swimming in water'

A group of residents are involved in a row with a Worthing primary school after instances of heavy flooding, which they say is destroying their gardens.

Residents living near the entrance of Hawthorns Primary School in Poplar Road have complained of flooding, that has seemingly worsened since new artificial grass area was laid at the school site.

However, the school has argued that staff are ‘satisfied’ the artificial grass ‘provides adequate drainage’.

Maureen Veck, who has lived in the Willow Crescent estate since it was built in the 1970s, said she has never experienced anything like it.

She explained: “There are five houses in a close leading to the pedestrian side entry/exit to the Hawthorns School, situated in Poplar Road, West Durrington.

"Recently the school have installed two areas of artificial grass either side of the access path in the school. This has increased the flooding as water now collects between the turf and pours down into our gardens and access.

“Now every time it rains we have extensive flooding.”

Miss Veck said the neighbourhood ‘already had problems with the water’ but it has now been exacerbated, adding: “It only took the first heavy rainfall for us to be swimming in water.

“No one can go up our garden paths without paddling. Grass is not able to grow which is such a shame to see. It’s very sad. This is really hard, we don’t know what to do.

"Plants have rotted away to the depths of water. Lots of things are coming our way. It’s a case of trying to survive.”

The neighbour most affected is Judith Mundy, who garden has been ‘ruined’, Miss Veck said.

Mrs Mundy added: “The artificial is lovely for the children to play on. But the rain is gathering between the two bits of turf and runs down the slope onto the access path which borders our garden.

"It’s making my side of the garden much muddier. I’ve had a huge pond there.

"I’m 73 and disabled so I have someone to cut my grass – it’s churned up a load of mud. The garage complex is flooded too.

“We always had a certain amount because we’re on clay soil but it’s never been as bad as this.

“When the photos were taken, it was absolutely dreadful. It felt as though I was marooned.

“The water does drain away eventually but, if you have any rain, it will do the same thing again.”

Mrs Mundy also raised fears about the damage the increased water is doing to the tree in the school grounds, adding: “It isn’t going to do the roots any good. I’m worried, will it come down on a child?”

Wendy Lawson, headteacher at Hawthorns Primary School, responded to residents’ complaints in a statement to this newspaper.

She said: “The high amount of rain we have been experiencing is causing issues for all of us.

"The artificial grass which the school has installed is manufactured with a holed backing and laid to industry standard onto an aggregate to improve the permeability of the soil.

"We are satisfied that this provides adequate drainage and conforms to the conditions required as stated in our planning permission document.’ Like so many people we are all experiencing issues with huge puddles and flooded areas.

"We can't recall such a run of wet weather and we are all hoping the rain stops soon.”

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