Chichester free-for-all fears

Southern areas of the Chichester district are in danger of being plunged into a developers’ free-for-all, according to a West Sussex county councillor.

Fears for the future have been expressed because of major uncertainties over future provision of desperately-needed improvements to sewerage services and roads.

Cllr Mike Hall, who represents Chichester North, has been pressing the Environment Agency to indicate the maximum capacity of both the Apuldram and Tangmere sewage treatment works.

Responding to him, the agency said studies had suggested future development should be distributed away from the Apuldram catchment – which includes the city area – and towards the Tangmere works.

It had determined what quality of effluent was needed to ensure the Tangmere works would not cause a deterioration of water quality at its discharge location on the Aldingbourne Rife.

Southern Water was considering this to see if it could meet the proposed conditions.

Until this information was available, it could not confirm the exact capacity Tangmere could provide for, but it was expected ‘significant’ investment would be needed there.

Cllr Hall said Tangmere already had real problems disposing of waste water during high ground-water levels.

These past discharges had polluted the Aldingbourne Rife, and then the Lidsey Rife, which were in Arun district.

“How can the Environment Agency, which is supposed to protect our environment, justify its suggestion to shift development into rural areas such as Tangmere and Westhampnett, which will destroy the strategic gap around the eastern area of the city?” he demanded.

A ‘position statement’ issued by the Environment Agency said it had been working with Southern Water to monitor storm discharge at the Apuldram works.

This had confirmed the discharge could have a detrimental impact on water quality in Chichester Harbour.

Monitoring would continue to help understand the impact, and Southern Water would be starting an ‘infiltration study’ this winter to help understand flows in the sewer network.