MP’s hopes are high for flood defences in West Wittering

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie has said more projects like the flood defence scheme in West Wittering are needed after receiving a progress report from the Environment Agency.

Mr Tyrie visited the site of the flood defence work and met with the local community, which managed to raise a staggering £600,000 to help fund the much-needed works.

Mr Tyrie said: “I have been very closely involved with this project from the start and so I am understandably very keen it should succeed. It shows what can happen when the energies of local people are released to enable them to help look after themselves in conjunction with the authorities responsible for flood and sea defences. We need much more of it in my constituency.

“We need local people engaged in working out how to defend themselves from the sea and we need to make sure the relevant bodies and the planning authorities let them get on with it.”

Mr Tyrie’s visit comes after a report in the Observer last week, where the Environment Agency defended its position not to include disabled access to the Crab Pool as part of the sea defences.

Mr Tyrie added: “I very much hope that the Environment Agency can take another look at their decision on this.”

Once completed, the new defences will provide a better level of protection from flooding to around 55 properties, the local school and nearby pumping station for the next century. The defences are being made out of earth and clay with rocks protecting the wet side. Mr Tyrie met with representatives of the Environment Agency and West Wittering Parish Council. Work started on the site in April with a target completion date of September, which is weather dependent. The total cost of the project is estimated at between £1.4 million and £1.8 million.

Keith Martin, vice chairman of West Wittering Parish Council, said: “This is a project that has involved an enormous amount of people in the village. To see it all actually happening after several years of campaigning means a great deal.”