MORE needs to be done to prevent gardens at Winchelsea Beach from flooding with raw sewage says Rye Labour candidate Sarah Owen.
Miss Owen, visited the worst affected areas the day after being contacted by local residents, who have had to deal with the worsening problem of overflowing sewage during any heavy rainfall.
Over 100 homes are affected, as well as businesses like Winchelsea Sands Caravan Park that employs 50 local people in maintenance, administration, entertainment and cleaning.
Sarah met with Southern Water, Rother District Council, Icklesham parish councillors and East Sussex County Council, who are all working together to find the best possible short and long term solutions to the problem which has continued to get worse for a number of years.
Sarah, who used to work in emergency planning, including dealing with flooding, said: “Having seen the scale of the problem first-hand, it is clear that people in Winchelsea Beach and the surrounding areas have had to put up with this situation for far too long. Flooding in this area is an ongoing issue that occurs with each and every period of heavy rainfall, not just now.
“Some of the residents who have contacted me are even reluctant to use their gardens due to fears over their own safety. The water that is creeping on to people’s properties and into business premises is not only rain water but is also contaminated with sewage. This is totally unacceptable and I will continue to work with local parish councillors and agencies involved to see an appropriate short term relief and longer term plan to deal with flooding in the area.”
East Sussex County Council leader Keith Glazier says the council has been working hard behind the scenes to tackle the issue, adding that Southern Water have promised to come back to him with answers by February 21.
Cllr Glazier said: “It is unacceptable that as soon as there is significant rain the sewage system cannot cope.
“To try to find a solution a working group consisting of East Sussex County Council, Rother District Council, Icklesham Parish Council, Southern Water and the Environment Agency are, and have been for some time, working on a solution engineered to improve the current sewage problem and find a longer term technical solution that will last.
“This working group is now at risk following, at this late stage, the opportunistic political intervention by the uninvited attendance of the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate at its last meeting who has no legitimate mandate to attend such meetings.
“I have been working for some considerable time on finding a solution. It’s a pity that after so much work by so many people working together in partnership this group is put at risk at the eleventh hour by someone who is prepared once again to put politics above people.”