LETTER: Highwood estate homes are safe

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I am writing as a result of comments to me by local residents of Highwood to last week’s article in the Horsham edition of the County Times.

They are concerned that one of the photos could have given the impression that the properties had flooded. This was not so, but after information provided the local flooding was due to Warnham Mill.

As a result of prolonged rain the water level went up to reach the level of the auxiliary spillways. These spillways released water in a controlled manner.

Once the level was below the spillways the additional flow stopped. My thanks to the Environment Agency for providing this information.

I apologise to my neighbours for appearing to invade their privacy by publicising their properties in such a way.

However judging from the number of people who walked to see what was happening to the Red River at that position, there will be many photos of them on people’s cameras.

It may well be that this is claimed to be a one in 1,000 risk but the river has flooded three times in one year already.

Horsham is fortunate in being able to still have house building in relatively flood-free areas.

I am sure the properties on this estate are safe and I am pleased that work already agreed by the council to be carried out at the Warnham Mill is designed to improve this further.

Fortunately the older houses nearby did not flood but it is important that any obstructions in the river should be removed to improve the flow.

As a councillor I also have the responsibility of looking at ‘what could happen if...’ and challenging those others promoting whatever it is.

How much housing is actually needed in this part of West Sussex is debatable. What is certain is that more of it needs to be much more affordable than at present.

The Preferred Development Framework under discussion includes climate change specifically.

We have been warned before that climate change means unreliable and more extreme weather conditions, as is being experienced here, in North America and Australia.


(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Forest ward, North Street, Horsham