Thousands of homes, hundreds of businesses and essential transport routes will become protected from flooding thanks to the work of Greater Brighton.
The Environment Agency is midway through the multi-million pound Adur Tidal Walls scheme which will reduce the risk of flooding in Shoreham.
As well as preserving existing buildings, a business case backed by the government shows the work will also protect key rail and road routes while unlocking other sites for future development.
And it has all been made possible thanks to £6 million of funding drawn in through the Greater Brighton Economic Board (GBEB) via Coast To Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
During a visit to see some of the 7.2 km stretch where work is taking place, Greater Brighton leaders said they were delighted to see the progress.
Councillor Andy Smith, GBEB chairman and leader of Lewes District Council, said: “I’m extremely impressed at the work to make one of Greater Brighton’s key towns virtually ‘flood-proof’. This is a prime example of how taxpayers money spent wisely and strategically can have a massive impact on the wider community.
“As well as protecting the existing communities, this work has the potential to protect important transport corridors which tens of thousands of people rely on, as well as making the area more attractive and viable for the development of much-needed housing and commercial premises.
“It is exactly the sort of project that everyone representing Greater Brighton – from politicians to business leaders to academics – wants to see happening as the wider benefit is enormous.”
During the visit, Greater Brighton leaders were given an overview of the project from the team’s base on Shoreham Beach.
It was explained that all government-funded flood protection works now need some form of match funding from other sources – which is where the GBEB and the LEP grant came in.
In total more than 2,328 properties and 169 commercial premises will be protected thanks to the work in Shoreham.
The delegation also heard how the work would safeguard key infrastructure routes, such as the coastal A259, the main coast rail link from Brighton to Southampton and Shoreham Airport.
Then, contractors from Team Van Oord gave a guided tour of a range of the flood protection works that have already been completed since they started in October 2016
It was explained that a range of methods are being used, including reinforced concrete walls, embankments, the creation of new natural habitats, and sheet pile walls.
The work will mean that the area is now protected from all but the most extreme case (1 in 300 years) of flooding.
Dave Robinson, of the Environment Agency, said: “When complete, the Shoreham scheme will reduce the tidal flood risk to thousands of homes and a significant number of commercial properties in the area, as well as protecting important local infrastructure such as the road network, railway line and Shoreham Airport.
“This is one part of the Environment Agency’s national effort to reduce the risk of flooding for at least 300,000 homes by 2020/21.”