A £700,000 scheme which West Sussex County Council claims is being carried out to prevent flooding at Burton Mill Pond has been labelled a ‘ludicrously expensive unnecessary water feature’.
Retired policeman Owen Gape is furious that as the country faces recession and service cut-backs, the county council is spending well over half a million pounds on a giant sluice gate which he believes is totally unnecessary.
“There are two other sluices, only one of which is usually open, which do the job perfectly well at the moment and anyway I have known the pond for about 50 years and to my knowledge it has never, ever flooded.
“All they have done here is to build a very expensive water feature and unless the water rises in the pond by five to six inches, it’s never going to be needed.
Mr Gape is also angry council tax payers are picking up the bill for the project, which was supposed to be completed in 23 weeks and is still not finished after more than 40 weeks.
The cost has rocketed from an initial estimate of £450,000 to £700,000.
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The Mill Pond is inspected every ten years by a fully qualified reservoirs panel engineer. Inspections of the area have highlighted the need for significant works which are in the interests of safety. The county council is responsible for the pond and it is our duty to carry this work out.
“The scheme has unfortunately been delayed due to unexpected ground conditions requiring considerable additional temporary works to ensure safety and maintain the integrity of the reservoir dam.”