An underground water pumping station to prevent flooding at a new Durrington housing development has been approved.
Permission for 700 new homes north of Fulbeck Avenue was granted by Worthing Borough Council back in 2012 and a number are already built and occupied.
The development included flood risk mitigation measures, which relied on gravity conveying excess water from an attenuation pond through an outlet pipe to a ditch and off-site.
However this system has been found to be insufficient and a pumping station has been partially completed on the south-western edge of the site.
A retrospective application for the drainage facility was approved by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday (September 19), but not before members expressed frustration at the need for changes to the agreed original drainage system.
Paul Yallop, chairman of the committee, said: “The flood risk and mitigation measures were a major part of the consortium’s application.
“It’s a muck up to put it politely that we have ended up in this position with such an important part of this development and they have not designed it properly.
“Unfortunately the planning system is not punitive but I wish it were when these sorts of things come forward.”
He added: “We seem to be presented with this fait accompli because they have not done what they were meant to do and they have already built the thing and they will have to modify it.”
The proposal, largely retrospective, is for a water pumping station made up of two underground concrete-lined chambers one-metre apart.
One of these is 3.5 metres deep with the other 4.5m.
At the base of the deeper chamber a pair of water pumps would be installed.
One pump would be in service, with another acting as a back-up in case of failure.
Each chamber is accessed via a manhole set into a concrete surround at ground level.
In between the chambers would be an above-ground electrical control cabinet. This would replace the slightly larger cabinet already installed.
The application has also been amended to include a spill-way at the south west end of the basin, just below its upper rim.
This would convey excess water from the basin to the ditch in the event of a pump failure in a high rainfall event to act as an added safeguard.
The New West Durrington Residents’ Association submitted a petition, signed by around 150 people, opposing the application.
Objectors raised concerns about the measures being proposed and argued the system in this location had not been tried or tested.
They called for assurances that the system would work and be properly maintained.
Officers explained how West Sussex County Council as the lead flood authority had agreed that the pumping station as proposed was an acceptable drainage solution.
Councillors agreed that a sinking fund should be established, which would pay for replacement of the pumps and electrical system in the future.
They also asked the committee chairman to write to the developers expressing their displeasure at the situation.
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