The project is led by Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust with Sompting Estate, and also supported by the Environment Agency, Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd and Sompting Big Local. Peter King, Project Manager at Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver this project. It will make a real difference, not only to the local environment but also to the residents of the surrounding area. We are very grateful for the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the local community which we have received as the ideas were being developed. We are now looking forward to turning the concept into a reality.”
The project would see the opening up of Sompting Brooks, which sits between the Dominion Way Industrial Estate in Worthing and Western Road in Sompting Village and is currently used for agricultural purposes. Sompting Brooks, as part of the privately owned Sompting Estate, has been owned and managed by the Crofts/Tristram family for more than 250 years. Teville Stream, which meets with the Broadwater Brook, has been largely culverted since the Second World War. The Brook starts in West Street, Sompting and passes beneath GlaxoSmithKline in Southdown View Way, East Worthing, then in a culvert under the old landfill site at Decoy Farm.
The stream, which is currently three-quarters culverted, will be uncovered and directed away from contaminating sources to establish a clean water environment. A new trail will be created to make Broadwater Brook accessible to surrounding communities for the first time, The natural habitat will be improved by the inclusion of two ponds, 1,000 trees, and 2.5km of hedgerow.
A wide range of public events will be held to raise awareness of water conservation, pollution and urban wildlife. These activities will involve practical conservation, photography, heritage investigations and educational programmes based on water quality and ecological surveying. Skill development workshops will train volunteers who can help with the maintenance and management of the site into the future.
The funding was made possible by National Lottery players and awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF, South East of England, said: “We’re delighted to support Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust to improve the natural environment of Broadwater Brook. “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will allow people from West Sussex to reconnect with their natural heritage.”
The project is expected to run until September 2021.