More than £90,000 set to be awarded to West Sussex communities to reduce flood risks

A total of more than £90,000 is set to be distributed in the latest round of Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund awards. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A total of more than £90,000 is set to be distributed in the latest round of Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund awards.

Five projects will benefit from the county council fund, which encourages communities to act against flooding.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: "All five of the awards show the county council supporting parish councils and a local church to reduce the risk and impact of flooding in their area."


Since starting in 2013, Operation Watershed has an excellent track record of supporting local communities: in fact, it has funded more than 360 projects to a value in excess of £3.3million, working with nearly 150 groups.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure

Subject to the council's usual call-in period, the latest awards are to:

  • Billingshurst Parish Council for flood alleviation in Marringdean Road and Daux Avenue- £11,680.

  • Rogate Parish Council for flood alleviation at Habin Hill- £50,665.

  • Bolney Parish Council- £21,427.

  • Hassocks United Reform Church- £2,000.

  • Fittleworth Parish Council- £4,998.


Five projects will benefit from the county council fund, which encourages communities to act against flooding. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Billingshurst Parish Council for flood alleviation in Marringdean Road and Daux Avenue: Following heavy rainfall in the winter of 2019/2020, the road and footway flooded in Daux Avenue, with water almost getting into homes. Recent site investigation has found a pipe under Daux Avenue that appears to be connected to Parr Brook, but the pipe is buried, has no headwall and the historic ditch that once ran adjacent to the footpath has been lost. At Merringdean Road, water is emerging from under the pavement. This project will include ditch work, building a brick work headwall, fitted with galvanised trash screen, jetting and a CCTV survey to check the existing outfall pipe under Daux Avenue is clear and in good condition.

Rogate Parish Council for flood alleviation at Habin Hill: Habin Hill provides the only link between Rogate and South Harting and consequently between the A272 and B2146. Flooding has been a long-standing issue here and there have been previous Operation Watershed phases aimed at resolving the problem. This new project will install an outfall from the highway to one of the local ditches to the west. New kerbs will be provided on Habin Hill to channel the water to the gullies and protect the driveways.

Bolney Parish Council: A home in Paynesfield has what is thought to be a groundwater spring which emerges in the front garden. Over the last year, the county council has worked with the homeowners, South East Water and Southern Water to identify the source of the water. It is thought the groundwater is linked to the historic watercourse that used to run across the site. Homeowners installed a system of filter drains within the front garden to try to deal with the emerging groundwater but the problem has worsened over the last 12 months. This project will replace much of the existing filter drain system with a new, deeper system which will have a positive outfall into the existing highway drain in Paynesfield.

Hassocks United Reform Church: the garden of a property next to the church, and owned by the church, is susceptible to flooding. A community facility is based there and, in heavy rainfall, water gets into the property. This project is for the installation of a rain garden. Rain gardens are small-scale features that capture rainwater run-off from buildings, pavements and other hard surfaces. They temporarily store, clean and slowly release that water back into the soil or drainage system, helping communities to deal more effectively with heavy rainfall.

Fittleworth Parish Council: there is a drainage ditch on the east side of Fittleworth Recreation Ground. Over the years, work has been undertaken to improve water flow in the ditch, which feeds into a culvert under a footpath that runs between the houses at High Trees and the Fittleworth School boundary. Currently the trash screen gets blocked up, causing flooding north of the culvert, potentially affecting homes in High Trees. The project will install a new, improved trash screen and extra fencing to help safeguard children near and around the culvert and screen.