Couple make desperate plea for help amid flood fears

Johnny Boylan and Belinda Pickering pictured outside their property in September 2016
Johnny Boylan and Belinda Pickering pictured outside their property in September 2016

A couple whose home is at risk of flooding after their flood wall collapsed said they may have to launch a fundraising campaign to cover ‘stratospheric’ repair costs.

The wall collapsed at the back of Johnny Boylan’s property in River Road, Arundel, 17 months ago but has yet to be repaired.

The Environment Agency said this work could range between £1.8million and £5.5million and has offered Mr Boylan and his partner Belinda Pickering – who has recently been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease – £200,000 in funding.

Mr Boylan said: “At present we will not receive this funding unless we go for one of the proposed routes.

“The Environment Agency’s initial offer was given as there are at least 19 homes at risk in Arundel of flooding or worse.

“We simply cannot raise £2million to help fund the repairs.”

Mr Boylan has approached a number of engineers in the hope to secure a lower asking price for these repairs.

He added: “We are hoping we can get the work done for roughly £600,000. This is still a massive figure but a little more attainable than what the Environment Agency has proposed.

“We think we will have to set up a Crowdfunding campaign to help raise as much money as we can.

“The money we and our neighbours have got from insurance providers will not be enough to fund the repairs.

“I don’t really know how this Crowdfunding works but it may be our only option at raising some money.”

Mr Boylan moved back into his property in January this year after months of renting another property in Arundel.

He is now appealing for anyone to provide ideas on how to save River Road and its residents.

Mr Boylan said: “These last 17 months have been extremely stressful and life changing for us all in River Road and especially for my darling Belinda who was diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with Motor Neurone Disease a cruel and grim condition and in my opinion not helped by this terrible ongoing saga.

“Her condition has now made all our other worries pale in comparison and we are trying to come to terms with this our newest and vilest challenge.

“We feel overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task of rebuilding and saving our homes and this beautiful part of Arundel.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “After the unfortunate damage in January 2016 to the privately owned river wall at one property in River Road in Arundel, the Environment Agency has investigated how many other properties could be affected by flooding if river water should come through the damaged wall.

“Based on the possible 19 properties which might be flooded, using Treasury guidelines for allocating central government money for flood defences, the Environment Agency calculates it could justify £175k (plus £25k to remove emergency defences temporarily installed) as a contribution to a properly engineered repair to the river wall.”