The popular East Worthing Festival was cancelled yesterday as Homefield Park is closed for up to a month following the torrential rain on Monday morning (July 28th).
Homefield Park was closed by Worthing Borough Council in conjunction with Southern Water after the rain caused sewage to back up into the park. This is not the first time this has happened.
The previous major incident was in June 2012 when serious floods in West Sussex prompted the County Council to publish a flood investigation report. The report identified 11 areas or ‘clusters’ in West Sussex with flood problems including two in Worthing. Homefield Park was included in the ‘Central Worthing’ cluster.
The report said the flooding in ‘Central Worthing’ was to be managed through Worthing Borough’s Surface Water Management Plan. Any recommendations from the plan should be further developed by the relevant authorities and included in their future works programme. Worthing Daily understands there has been drainage work in Homefield Park – was this part of the future works programme promised? The fact the park is now closed suggests there is more still to do – is anything further planned in line with the report?
Southern Water was to consider the installation of new screens to more effectively remove solids and non-biodegradable material at East Worthing waste water treatment works and help protect the downstream process equipment. The water company has committed £20 million to improve the waste water works resilience and the 9 ton 45 foot long screens have already been refurbished.
West Sussex County Council is the ‘Lead Local Flood Authority’ (LLFA) and following the report launched ‘Operation Watershed’ releasing £8.5 million from reserves to invest in highway drainage and environmental improvements. As usual with West Sussex, Worthing Daily asks has any of this money come to Worthing?
And there are more questions – Southern Water was subject to an Environment Agency investigation after they dumped untreated sewage into the sea at East Worthing in September 2012. What has happened to the investigation and possible criminal proceedings? There was another dump only last week after the torrential rain on Monday.
Nasty things on television are kept to after the watershed. Let’s hope for the residents on East Worthing that good things will come out of Operation Watershed for them.