More homes approved for Pagham despite flooding concerns

Further details for six new Pagham homes were approved on Wednesday (January 5) but councillors expressed continuing concerns over flooding in the area.

The site will be next to Sefter School House
The site will be next to Sefter School House

Outline planning approval, or approval ‘in principle’, for the site next to Sefter School House was given in 2020.

But further details have now been approved by Arun District Council’s planning committee.

The four three-beds and two four-bed properties will have 22 parking spaces, communal green space, and 14 new trees planted, and designs also show how they will look.

Sefter Field became known as ‘Sefter Lake’

Two objections were received with another from Pagham Parish Council.

June Hamilton, a parish and district councillor for Pagham, said: “Sefter Field or ‘Sefter Lake’ as it has become known, is a field that regularly floods and definitely qualifies as an area at risk of flooding.

“It also acts as nature’s drain for the whole local area which is largely tarmacked or concreted over, so it is much needed.

“In the winter of 2019 to 2020, it was underwater for about six months.

“The following winter it was only slightly less flooded.”

Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) was concerned that responsibility for keeping the stream next to the properties clear could fall to multiple landowners.

“That is going to be very, very important because that stream is going to take a large part, if not all, of the discharge from the Taylor Wimpey site to the north-east, ” he said. 

But council officers said this was not grounds for refusal as the site already had outline permission and future occupants had a legal responsibility to keep the stream clear.

The new houses were approved with nine votes for and one against.

Previous flooding concerns

Flooding was also a major concern among objectors to these plans and photos published by the Pagham and Aldwick Greenfields Action Movement (P.A.G.A.M) showed residents sailing and swimming at a flooded site.

At the time, Mr Coster said: “It is locally called Sefter Lake for a very good reason: because it is often flooded, every year, and this is a very significant problem in the area.

“People are extremely worried.”

But ADC said the site is ‘not in a flood plain’ and officers added that drainage had been considered and secured by condition at the outline planning stage.

A representative of Taylor Wimpey said the developer ‘appreciated the importance’ of finding a solution to flooding at the site.

“This will be achieved through the implementation of our drainage design,” they said.