Littlehampton flood defence 'has put homes at risk'

Yacht club wall
Image caption The yacht club flood wall started to collapse this week

A £22m Environment Agency tidal defence has caused the partial collapse of a flood wall, putting homes at risk, it has been claimed.

A flood wall was built on the River Arun's west bank in Littlehampton last year to protect Arun Yacht Club, and the Environment Agency's east bank wall was finished in the spring.

Campaigners believe the defence changed the river and damaged the first wall.

But the Environment Agency said its defence would not affect river flows.

The wall paid for by the yacht club started to collapse this week.

'One good storm'

Councillor James Baird, Clymping Parish Council vice-chairman, said 180 homes and businesses on the west side of the river were vulnerable.

Local businessman Robert Boyce said the club wall would completely collapse, and added: "We need to act as soon as we possibly can and as swiftly as we can."

Simon Gibson, West Bank Flood Action Group chairman, said: "We've seen significant change over the last two to three years since the east bank defences were started - severe erosion and scouring of the west bank.

"We are one good storm away at the moment from breaking through down to where we live."

The Environment Agency scheme aimed to protect up to 2,000 east bank homes and businesses from rising sea levels.

In a statement, the Environment Agency said: "We have offered technical support and advice to Arun Yacht Club to help resolve their issues at this location."

"Our designers advised us that the construction of the Littlehampton Arun East Bank scheme will have very little impact on the flows of the River Arun through Littlehampton."

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