Flood prevention project is 'real community success story'

Community volunteers at one element of the completed works in Almodington. From left, Keith Martin, Veronica Wilks, Andries Devaal, John Stant. Front: Campbell Thorpe, Robert Carey. Picture by J. M. Bowering
Community volunteers at one element of the completed works in Almodington. From left, Keith Martin, Veronica Wilks, Andries Devaal, John Stant. Front: Campbell Thorpe, Robert Carey. Picture by J. M. Bowering

A major flood diversion project in Almodington has been driven by community action, West Sussex County Council has said.

Birdham and Earnley Flood Prevention Group recently completed the project which was funded through £52,500 from the county council's Operation Watershed scheme, £15,000 from the Environment Agency and was 'actively supported' by Earnley Parish Council.

Flood prevention group chairman Robert Carey said: "A number of residents' homes were flooded during the major floods in June 2012, but, by taking flood water away from the village, this project will significantly reduced the risk of this happening again.

"The local community are grateful for the funding and expert support from Operation Watershed and the Environment Agency. It's been a lot of work for all concerned but in the end well worth it."

The scheme saw excess storm water diverted across Batchmere Road to link up with farm ditches that drain to the sea.

Cllr Roger Elkins said: "This is a real community success story, with multi-agency support. I'm delighted we have been able to help through Operation Watershed funding and expert advice."

The county council’s Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund encourages communities to act against flooding. Since starting in 2013, it has successfully supported local communities by funding more than 360 projects to a total value in excess of £3million, and worked with nearly 150 groups.

Cllr Debbie Kennard said: "This has been about the local community making this happen through sheer persistence and determination and everyone involved should feel rightly proud of their success."

Residents and local landowners provided detailed knowledge of the local topography and water flows.

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