Staplefield given county help to beat flooding

Staplefield, which has suffered with serious surface water problems, is being put right with help from West Sussex County Council’s Operation Watershed.

Monday, 14th October 2013, 1:19 pm

Villagers in Staplefield have endured some miserable wet spells over the past three years because of a deteriorating drainage system under the common.

During the deluge of rain last summer the Victory Inn pub was flooded out, along with two neighbouring cottages.

The children’s play park became flooded, making it unusable for a time.

The road and path leading from the common car park up to St Mark’s Church of England Primary School was submerged.

The ground around the War Memorial was left soft and boggy for the Armistice Day Service.

And cricketers and dog walkers were hampered by excessive surface water affecting the ground.

Bob Birthright, of Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council, wanted to do something about the problems.

He heard about the County Council’s Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund from officers involved in the project.

The fund, available for groups of all sizes, was set up to help communities become more resilient to extreme weather.

“I heard about Operation Watershed and it rang a bell with me immediately,” he said.

“As we talked to people in the village it became more and more obvious there were flooding problems.

“Up at the village school the children had to paddle across the road to get in because of flooding.

“We have a war memorial and on the November Armistice Day people were up to their ankles in mud.

“The cricketers couldn’t play their games properly and the soft ground was causing problems for dog walkers.

“So this is an opportunity to sort out these problems once and for all.”

The parish council made a successful application for £37,070 to the Active Communities Fund last month.

The existing drainage system serving the common will be improved, enlarged and added to.

Once work starts, it is expected to take about two months to complete.

Bob said: “If it was not for Operation Watershed, we would have no alternative.

“Children would still have to paddle to school, people would get flooded out every couple of years, and the cricket field would be unplayable.

“So Operation Watershed is a life-saver.”

The application was one of 13 successful bids made to the Active Communities Fund.