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Patcham residents call for £14 million sewer improvements
Flood-stricken residents are calling on the council to fund a £14 million project to renew the sewer system beneath their streets.
Frustrated locals in Patcham, once again facing the risk of flooding, are urging the council to revise the bottleneck sewer system beneath Old London Road.
David Harris, 77, an expert on flooding in Patcham, said: “When the sewer reaches the Black Lion pub there is only one way for the water to go, and that is up.”
The flooding issues in Patcham are exacerbated as the sewer systems running into the village are 40% higher in capacity than the ones running through it, creating the bottleneck.
When the water running off the Downs moves through the sewer, Patcham becomes a pinch point and the water makes its way towards the surface.
At a meeting held for residents at the Memorial Hall this week, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said plans needed to be made for the future.
She said: “From the national side of things I am doing all that I can to try to put pressure on the different authorities from whom we can bid for some finances to say how important this is.
“As we know, this comes every year and unless we tackle the causes we are going to be meeting in this hall year after year.”
The £14 million project would revise the entire sewer system from the village to the coast.
Just renewing the sewers in Patcham would simply move the bottleneck to another part of the city.
Currently flooding in Patcham is managed by East Sussex Fire and Rescue with a network of three emergency pumps that move the water to larger sewers south of the village.
Brighton and Hove city councillor Geoffrey Theobald, OBE, of the Patcham Ward, said: “I will carry on battling to get this wretched pipe made larger.”
A Southern Water spokesman said: “Our sewerage system in Patcham is designed to take away wastewater from homes and surface water from roads – a role which it continues to perform.
“However, the system is not designed to control the flows of the underground river that runs under the town and nor should it be.
“Our responsibility is to ensure the sewers continue to run as normal.
“This allows customers to continue using their wastewater services and prevents the pipes from backing up and flooding homes with wastewater. We have temporary pumps in place to do that while the groundwater remains high.”
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