A Pulborough Parish Councillor has referred to the district council and county council’s comment on village flooding as ‘woefully inadequate’.
Last month, Chairman of the Planning and Service Committee for Pulborough Parish Council, Andy Tilbrook, said that ongoing flooding in the village was a direct result of poor housing approval decisions by the council.
In response, Horsham District Council (HDC) said they always consult with Southern Water on the capacity of its sewage system before making a decision on a planning application.
“Southern Water will provide advice on the capacity of the system to be able to support a development and the steps to be taken by the developer to secure connection with the system,” said a spokesperson for HDC.
But Dr Tilbrook said HDC do not take into account the effect of drainage on sewage flow.
He said: “The responses from both the county council and HDC are woefully inadequate.
“When giving advice to HDC Southern Water take no account of the amount of drainage water in the sewerage system and, except in a few very rare instances, have not measured and do not know the amount of drainage water in the system in times of heavy rain and peak sewerage flow.”
The responsibility for drainage pipes was recently handed over from Southern Water to Horsham District Council’s Local Planning Authority.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) said: “Southern Water have for some time been unlikely to adopt surface water drains on new developments unless an area already has a Southern Water surface water sewer that the developer can connect too. If this is the case Southern Water would check and approve the surface water system.
“If no surface water sewer is available the surface water system for the development will currently be checked and approved by the LPA.”
Dr Tilbrook said that the council needs to do more to prevent blockages in the drainage system.
He said: “County, through highways dept, have a responsibility for keeping drains clear and working, particularly on main roads.
“The responsibility is not just for the gullies beneath drain covers, but for the pipework connecting the gullies and moving the water away.”
WSCC added that under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Schedule 3, they will have responsibility for the checking, approval, adoption and future maintenance of surface water systems on new developments, but this section of the act has yet to be enacted.
Dr Tilbrook added: “I greatly fear that local residents and businesses will suffer a deteriorating infrastructure with increased problems due to inadequate sewearge and drainage systems in the near future.