Hassocks residents demand action over flood

The sudden rush of water flooded Christina Angus' garden in Parklands Road, Hassocks
The sudden rush of water flooded Christina Angus' garden in Parklands Road, Hassocks

Hassocks residents are calling for firm action after a wave of water threatened to flood their homes in Parklands Road.

The Middy reported last week that water surged down Herring Stream on Friday, February 14, swamping gardens off Parklands Road, where serious flooding affected homes in 2000 and 2001.

Since we ran the article, residents have renewed their calls for action to prevent future problems. Wayne Mills, whose home was flooded in 2001, had to buy his own sandbags on February 14 like other families in Parklands Road, faced with the sudden surge.

Mr Mills said: “Our Prime Minister informed us on television that we should not pay for sandbags. Friday’s near miss brought back many unwanted memories.”

West Sussex County Council clarified the position over sandbags by telling us: “There is a public expectation that the ‘local authority’ will provide sandbags. This is not the case and commercial and residential property owners should make appropriate arrangements to protect their own property.”

Hassocks resident Mike Valpy lives 100 metres upstream of Spitalford Bridge and told us the culvert under Downs View Road is “too small in diameter” to handle very heavy rain.

He said: “It backs up. The water then spills over the surface of Downs View Road, sending enormous quantities downstream. This happened on Friday and may partly explain the surge.”

Mr Mills said: “I believe the most popular solution in 2001 was to build or extend a balancing pond close to the source of the stream at Clayton. This never materialised.”

Mid Sussex District councillor Pru Moore, the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Sustainability, told us: “On the Friday in question we had torrential rain, I’d never seen anything like it. The sheer volume of water created a flash flood of fast rising water in Hassocks and when we started to get calls we dispatched officers to try and help residents.

“We have experienced record-breaking rainfall that has highlighted issues across the district. Over the next few months we will be working alongside the Environment Agency and the county council, in conjunction with parishes and local communities, to investigate what has happened this winter and to look at future flood management measures.”