Fears that land earmarked for the development of a new Sussex market town is prone to flooding are being backed by a parish council.
Campaigners fighting proposals to build the new 7,000-home town on land between Henfield and Wineham produced photographs before Christmas showing, they said, that the area regularly flooded after heavy rain.
Extensive flooding closed the A281 at Mock Bridge for several days.
But Mayfield Market Towns, which wants to build the new homes, maintained that the land proposed for development was further east than the land depicted under water in photographs.
However, Henfield Parish Council has come up with new photographs which, they say, ‘show extensive flooding’ on the proposed construction site.
Council chairman Malcolm Eastwood said that Mayfield Market Towns’ proposed site “is crossed by three water courses including the River Adur, it is on a flood plain and virtually all on clay which floods in the winter and shrinks in the summer making it unsuitable as a construction site.
“Flooding and subsidence are higher risks here - something the current landowners are telling us. That is why this area has remained a beautiful quiet sanctuary for wildlife for many years.
“We should also remember that flood risk is not a site specific issue. If this site is developed there will be a knock on impact for the communities downstream, a situation exacerbated by the fact that the River Adur is tidal right up to the proposed site.
“It is likely that there will be many and more frequent closures of the A281 and an increased flood risk to residents who live close to the Adur.
“We have read the arguments made about man made drainage systems, but here the force of nature is strong and we don’t believe that it can be controlled so easily, particularly against a background of climate change and rising sea and river levels”.
Mayfields’ proposed development site is being considered by Horsham District Council alongside a number of other strategic sites for potential development in its upcoming Local Plan, a draft for public consultation is due to be published in February.