West Felpham Flood Action Assembly – WFFAA

Preventing flooding in Felpham



West Felpham Flood Action Assembly (WFFAA)

WFFAA was founded in response to the flooding in Felpham on 11th June 2012. WFFAA is a community group founded by and run by volunteers. The aims of the group are:

  1. To identify the causes of flooding in West Felpham.
  2. To identify the actions needed to prevent further flooding and to work in partnership to ensure those actions are taken.
  3. To liaise with other Flood Action groups in the area to pool resources and expertise.
  4. To provide a support network for residents who have suffered from flooding.

WFFAA operates through a working Committee of volunteers. It is formally constituted and can be contacted through this site, or via e-mail. WFFAA is affiliated to the National Flood Forum which is a national charity dedicated to supporting and representing communities and individuals at risk of flooding.

Since it’s inception WFFAA has been working to raise it’s profile within the Felpham community and has had publicity in the local press. Many people in Felpham are aware of us and many support us but the greater our numbers the greater the influence we can have.

WFFAA aims to work with those agencies and authorities, who are currently investigating the flooding and on whom we will rely to take the action necessary to prevent future flooding. We understand that many people are upset and angry about the flooding – indeed some of the WFFAA Committee have had to leave their homes for months as a result of the flooding – but our focus is to identify what happened and work to ensure it doesn’t happen again. WFFAA aims to position itself as a conduit between the community; and those agencies and authorities, to do this WFFAA must be able to represent the community so we need your help. Please join us (it’s free!) and swell our numbers. We will help you to make your views known and we will keep you updated on actions being taken, both by WFFAA and as part of the ongoing investigation.

A Felpham residents flooded rear garden.


Email: WestFelphamFlood@aol.com


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WFFAA calls for a Surface Water Management Plan for Felpham

Here is the copy of a letter sent to the Drainage Strategy Team Leader, Mr Kevin Macknay of West Sussex County Council calling for our own Surface Water Management Plan for Felpham.


Kevin Macknay
Drainage Strategy Team Leader,
West Sussex County Council

9th May 2014

Dear Kevin

Surface Water Management Plan for Felpham

It was good to see you again at WFFAA’s Multi-Agency Meeting (MAM) last Tuesday (29th April). We appreciate your continued support in the fight against flooding.

You will recall that at our meeting we discussed Surface Water Management Plans (SWMP). We understand that you are working on a SWMP for the Lidsey catchment area and that the Environment Agency are working on a management strategy for the Barnham and Aldingbourne Rifes but that neither of these includes Felpham.

Felpham as you know suffers badly from surface water flooding and it is clear to WFFAA that this area also needs a SWMP. At our meeting we promised to write to you to formally request that West Sussex County Council compile a SWMP for the Felpham area, hence this letter.

We understand that you may not be able to begin work on this immediately as resources are currently tied up on the Lidsey SWMP but we would appreciate your confirmation that a SWMP for Felpham will be completed; together with an indication of the timetable for commencement and completion of the work on this plan.

As always WFFAA is ready to help in any way that we can.

I have copied this letter to all attendees of the MAM; and because of the relationship between the draft Felpham Neighbourhood Plan and the SWMP for Felpham this letter is also copied to Felpham Parish Council.

Best wishes,

J Smeaton

Jane Smeaton


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Ley Road Ditch News

We sent the person responsible for the Ley Road Ditch, Mrs Jacqui Shilton, this letter early on in April asking some relevant questions for which we are waiting for a reply.

Dear Ms Shilton

Ley Road Ditch

I am writing to you on behalf of the West Felpham Flood Action Assembly (WFFAA) to congratulate you on your work to clear the drainage ditch that runs behind the houses in Ley Road.

As you will know, since 2012 in particular, Felpham residents have been very concerned that blocked ditches increase the risk of flooding and exacerbate any flooding events. We welcome your work to help protect those houses in Ley Road from any unnecessary flooding.

However we understand that your work on this ditch is not yet complete as the following remain to be done:

  1. Removing any pinch points by widening the ditch behind numbers 31 to 35 Ley Road.
  2. Sloping/profiling of the banks of the ditch behind numbers 31 to 35 Ley Road to reduce the risk of collapse.
  3. Where the public surface water sewer connects to the ditch from Ley Road (on the boundary of nos. 35/37) at a low level i.e. lower than the ditch bed/downstream culvert, then a sump needs to be constructed at this point in order for the pipe to discharge effectively. The sump details would need to be agreed with Arun District Council (ADC) and silt removal from the sump would need to be included in your annual maintenance programme.


WFFAA would like to be able to reassure residents that these issues will be resolved without delay so it would be helpful if you could let us know when you intend to complete this work? Paul Cann (ADC) has advised us on the technical requirements and he is happy to discuss these works with you if you would find that helpful.

WFFAA has also had reports from Ley Road residents who are concerned about the wooden gates at the Felpham Way entrance to this ditch. These gates, we are told, have been vandalised and left open allowing access to the rear gardens of the houses. Residents are concerned that this presents a security risk; could you please let us know what your plans are to address this risk?

It would also be helpful if you could confirm that you will be undertaking annual maintenance to this ditch to ensure the free flow of water continues?

As you may know WFFAA has a website (wffaa.wordpress.com) and produces regular Newsletters for the Felpham area. We will publicise through this media the information we already hold about the Ley Road ditch and we would be happy to also include information on your future plans.

Yours sincerely

J Smeaton

(By e mail)

Jane Smeaton


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Rife visit in November 2013

The Environment Agency hosted a visit to the Aldingbourne Rife on 20 November. A group of sixteen local residents enjoyed an informal tour of the site. This visit was made possible through partnership working between WFFAA and the Environment Agency. Anyone interested in joining a future visit should contact WFFAA




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WFFAA Operation Watershed – Ditch Clearance

Ditch cleaning (almost) complete

During summer of 2013, the “ditch” to the west of Beach Estate was cleared by volunteers from the area. 168 tonnes of soil and debris was removed over a length 230 metres. WSCC provided £8,500 from Operation Watershed to fund the work, the bulk of which paid for equipment hire and disposal of material. This has already provided extra capacity for storage of overflow surface water during recent heavy rain. WFFAA would like to thank all those who gave time to support this project which we hope will benefit the community and that we can get everyone on board so it can be opened from end to end.

Work starts clearing the vegitation

Work starts clearing the vegetation where the ditch is/was

Digger moves in

The Diggers moves in

Ditch beginning to be re-instated

Ditch beginning to be re-instated

One of the many loads being collected

One of the many loads being collected

Part of the re-instated ditch now complete

Part of the re-instated ditch now complete – See first photo

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WFFAA Open Afternoon – 21 September

WFFAA will be holding an Open Afternoon on Saturday 21st September at the St Mary’s Centre, Felpham between 1.30pm and 4.30pm. Please come along and see what we have done and what we are planning to do. We will have a display of maps and photographs and will show how much progress we have made in the past year since the floods. Free publications, dealing with flood issues, produced by various Government and other agencies, will be available.

There will also be information on how property can be protected against flooding. Minimising the impact of floodwater is known as “Flood Resilience” and is considered at the initial design or building renovation stage. “Property Level Protection” can help to reduce the effects of flooding on older properties. Various official organisations are now encouraging homeowners to investigate whether the installation of some protection equipment would reduce the chances of being flooded in future. Examples of such protection are air brick covers, automatic flood proof air bricks, flood proof doors, water proofing sealants for exterior walls and free standing temporary flood barriers and these examples will be available to see at the event.

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WFFAA receives funding from Operation Watershed

WFFAA receives cheque from Councillor Graham Jones (Felpham)

WFFAA receives cheque from Councillor Graham Jones (Felpham)

We received funding under West Sussex County Council’s Operation Watershed. The cheque was presented to the group by County Councillor Graham Jones (Felpham). Councillor Jones said “This must be one of the more pleasant tasks in being a County Councillor handing out a cheque to such a deserving cause. I must applaud WFFAA for the initiative shown in getting this scheme off the ground and I wish them all the success for the future.”

Jane Smeaton, Chair of WFFAA, said that the group were very excited about the award. We put a lot of thought into our bid and see the award as a vote of confidence in WFFAA.

The funding has been provided to enable the group to clear a stretch of ditch that runs between Wedgwood Road and Bereweeke Road. This ditch provides extra capacity for the surface water drainage system, but over the years the ditch has become overgrown, significantly reducing its profile and its capacity; in June 2012 this exacerbated the flooding.

Jane said that this award makes clearance of the ditch possible. The cost of disposing of the debris removed would otherwise have been prohibitive. WFFAA has received many comments about the poor state of the ditches in the area and we hope that through this work we will also highlight individual responsibility for ditch maintenance.

WFFAA would like to make the ditch clearance a community event so if anyone would like to know more about WFFAA’s bid or would like to get involved then please contact us.

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WFFAA Visit Aldingbourne Rife Pumping Station

WFFAA members pose for photos at the Aldingbourne Rife Pumping Station

WFFAA members outside the Aldingbourne Rife Pumping Station

A local flood action group the West Felpham Flood Action Assembly (WFFAA) has visited the Aldingbourne Rife Pumping Station. Jane Smeaton, Chair of WFFAA, said that the invitation came about through our partnership working with the Environment Agency. At our last multi-agency meeting WFFAA put on the agenda understanding how the Aldingbourne Rife was managed and as part of this the Environment Agency issued the invitation.
Jane explained that it is important for WFFAA to understand how water is managed in the area covered by the group, and for WFFAA to know what constitutes normal running as only then will we be able to identify any potential problems that may arise and be able to prepare for them. The Aldingbourne Rife was not implicated in the June 2012 flooding but it is a significant body of water so WFFAA needs to understand its management.
As well as having a serious purpose the visit which lasted for over an hour and also included representatives from Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council was thoroughly enjoyable. Jane said that the Environment Agency were great hosts who explained the workings to us in some detail and this was fascinating as well as educational. WFFAA will shortly add an account of the visit with photographs to our website, WFFAA.wordpress.com
Dave Bonner from the Environment Agency who organised and led the visit said that the Environment Agency is keen to work with communities and to help them understand the Agency’s work. He said that if there is sufficient demand from the community he would be happy to organise another visit. Anyone who would be interested in joining a future visit should contact WFFAA by e mail to westfelphamflood@aol.com.

Here is an explanation in words and photos of what we learned from our visit to the Aldingbourne Rife Pumping Station.