It is our beautiful river, home to mullet, swans, gulls and our visiting seal. But it needs to be kept in its place.
Starting this October £4.7m is being spent doing just that, as work on the Arundel flood defence scheme begins. It is an enormous amount for money for our town and its 3,500 residents. It works out at £1,342 per person. It reflects the value that is put on our beautiful heritage town with its 519 listed buildings.
Householders, Arundel Town Council, Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council are all contributing, but most of the investment is coming from the Environment Agency, thanks the intervention of our MP, Nick Herbert, and huge efforts by some of the stalwarts of our Arundel community.
The company appointed to do this work, Team Van Oord (“TVO”), are international experts in flood management. Their team have walked the streets of Arundel with us and realise that special care is needed in our historic town.
One thing is certain. It is not possible to deliver a scheme of this magnitude without inconvenience, though we have been working with TVO and the Environment Agency to minimise this.
We have discussed with TVO the measures that need to be taken to minimize noise, vibration, silt, dust, potential damage to roads, the risk of fracturing water pipes or damaging buildings. A key issue will be the loss of parking spaces, and we have been in discussion with the Environment Agency and Arun District Council about the alternative arrangements that will be provided for residents who are directly affected.
The Environment Agency and TVO are still finalizing their plans, and in the next two weeks they expect to distribute information to every household and business in Arundel describing these plans in detail. But at this stage the key elements of this plan appear to be as follows:
- This work is going to take from 21st October until the end-May next year and will be carried out in four “zones”: River Road, Fitzalan Road (north of the A27 bridge) and in two locations on the embankment-one near the Southern Water Pumping Station, the other at the southern end of Fitzalan Road.
- On 21st October, TVO will start to set up their base camp in a cordoned off area in the compound behind the Mill Road car park. They will then establish a secondary bases in River Road car park and the Memorial Gardens at the bottom of Arun Street. A material storage area will be established in the layby area by the A27 flyover.
- Building work will begin on 4th November and take place Monday-Saturday, 7.30am-6.00pm. It will be suspended for Arundel By Candlelight. TVO will use Road Marshalls to maintain safety on the roads, and a safety boat on the river.
- Some materials and equipment will be lifted by crane from the Mill Road compound onto a barge and transported to the work sites by barge. Other materials will be driven to the River Road car park from Mill Road or driven down Arun Street into the Memorial Gardens.
We are expecting that the work will cause disruption in a number of ways:
- The river will be closed between the Queen Street bridge and the A27 bridge for the duration of the project.
- The towpath by the Mill Road compound will be closed in the period whilst the crane is being used to load the barge, and the embankments south of the town will be closed in the period whilst they are being worked on (which will be in April 2019)
- The Memorial Gardens will be closed for the duration. Steps are being taken to preserve the plants, furniture and the commemorative paving.
- The River Road car park will be out of use, and some street parking spaces will be lost in River Road, on the western side of Arun Street, at the entry to Tarrant Wharf, on the corner of Arun Street and Tarrant Street, and (possibly) in Fitzalan Road.
Final details on these plans will be coming to you from the Environment Agency in the next 2 weeks.