Flooding shows infrastructure inadequate to support proposed housing - South Downs MP

Nick Herbert pictured last week  -photo by Steve Cobb
Nick Herbert pictured last week -photo by Steve Cobb

Widespread flooding has cast doubt on the ability of West Sussex’s infrastructure to support planned housing numbers according to Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert.

He raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday 10 February) with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who was answering questions on recent flooding across the country.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning he also argued that plans for new homes had to be ‘reasonable and balanced’ that address problems with infrastructure.

He said: “My constituency has experienced some river flooding, but it has not been as severe as that in other areas.

“However, there are particular problems with surface water flooding in the local villages, including the very unpleasant effects of foul water and overflowing sewerage systems.

“A substantial amount of new housing is proposed in those areas, at a level that local authorities consider to be unsustainable.

“Can my right hon. friend assure me that in setting housing numbers, local authorities will be able to take into account the adequacy of the infrastructure to support new housing, so that the current problems do not become worse in the future?”

Mr Pickles answered: “My right hon. friend has conducted a long campaign in this regard, and he has made a number of very reasonable points.

“I think that such decisions must be made on the basis of scientific fact. The rising level of groundwater will continue to cause problems in my right hon. friend’s constituency, my constituency and, indeed, most constituencies until well into June, even if from now on things start to shine.”

Like other authorities across the country Horsham District Council and Mid Sussex District Council are putting together their housing strategies for the next 20 years.

While proposals for a 10,000-home new settlement between Sayers Common and Henfield proposed by Mayfield Market Towns is not in either authority’s draft strategy, Mr Herbert highlighted recent flooding in the area.

Both he and Nicholas Soames, MP for Mid Sussex, have opposed Mayfield’s scheme.