Flood defences in Arundel
I am so pleased that the Environment Agency is to accelerate a flood defence scheme in Arundel and include repairs to the collapsed wall at River Road.
I asked the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to intervene following the failure to repair the wall, which collapsed more than two and a half years ago. The residents discovered that they were responsible for rebuilding the wall, but the cost was impossibly high, while government procurement rules meant that they could not access promised public funds.
After reviewing the recommendations from the Lower Tidal River Arun Strategy for Arundel, the Agency has brought forward a scheme to improve flood defences in areas of the town at highest risk.
Repairs to the collapsed wall at River Road will be completed first, and work there is scheduled to begin by autumn 2019. The whole scheme is estimated to be completed in autumn 2020. Under the original timetable the work may not have started for two to three years.
The scheme will improve the protection of around 130 properties from flooding and up to 30 properties against river erosion on both river banks. The estimated cost is £4 million, funded by a combination of Government grant and local contributions of £750,000, including from councils.
The River Road residents have confirmed that they will contribute nearly £300,000 of this through insurance payouts and personal contributions, and last week Arundel Town Council voted unanimously to allocate the £64,000 which it has raised from local residents for the town’s flood defences through its precept, provided that West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council also contribute.
I have held countless meetings on this issue, including one with insurers at the House of Commons to encourage them to pay out, and I am delighted to have helped secure this outcome on behalf of local residents.
I am very grateful to Michael Gove for his intervention, and to the Environment Agency for revising and bringing forward its flood risk plans so that the River Road repairs will at last be done. I also received invaluable help from Arundel resident Derek Waller.
I am confident that the necessary funding will be raised from local councils, and Arundel Town Council has already shown a lead. I look forward to confirmation from West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council that they will support this important scheme.