A property company wanting to build a new town in rural Sussex has today unveiled a radical solution to building on the flood plain.
The company plans to reclaim thousands of acres of waterlogged land by “borrowing” tonnes of porous chalk from The Downs and using it to raise the level of the site. Technical blueprints for the scheme show how chalk could be reclaimed from southern aspect of Wolstonbury Hill and transported by eco-truck to low lying sites in the Adur Valley.
Spokesman for the project, Will Utwigg admits the move will be controversial, but says the plan would create an opportunity to build thousands of flood resistant zero-carbon homes.
“This kind of engineering is commonplace in other parts of the world,” he says. “In the Netherlands whole towns have been created in this way. And in Hong Kong, Chek Lap Kok Airport is built on an island reclaimed from a nearby mountain.
“Due to its geology, Sussex is ideally suited to this project,” he added. “Cretaceous chalk is the perfect sustainable solution to flooding due to its ability to naturally store excess water under the surface. The whole area will be totally re-engineered to withstand up to a 1 in 1000 year weather event.”
The proposals have been met with horror by environmental groups who say it would cause devastating and irreparable damage to the National Park and destroy important wildlife habitats in the Adur valley.
However, the company claims these concerns are unfounded and says the project would enable them to sculpt a second ‘Devils Dyke’ at Wolstonbury, creating an exciting new tourist attraction:
“Devil’s Dyke is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK,” says Chairman, Lord Phil Theeritch. “Our proposal will not only solve the housing crisis in Sussex, but also enhance the landscape and boost tourism. By excavating the site we will be able to forge a new mile long valley – an iconic ‘Heaven’s Dyke’ to be twinned with the old ‘Devil’s Dyke’ just 4 miles away.”
And, says the company, ‘Heaven’s Dyke’ will be just the start: Once the chalk spoil arrives on the lowlands it will be used to reshape unruly waterways and river corridors. Landscape architects have already been employed to look at the feasibility of modifying existing woodland and hedge rows to accommodate the new high quality eco-lattice environment.
“Our final design remains fluid while we engage with local people, businesses and councils,” says Lord Theeritch. “Our plan will incorporate all the benefits of a large scale community very much along the lines of the Government’s ‘Garden Settlements’ – an exciting, sustainable ‘Garden Ghetto’ in a desirable Downland setting.”
Although the proposals are still at a very early stage of planning, specialist Dutch Engineers will begin technical ‘Koecunbuil’ geological surveys next month.
“This is an exciting project for us,” says Chief Engineer, Lars Laaff. “This is the first time we have applied our methods to Chalk, but this rock has similar properties to cheese… and moon rocks are our field of expertise.”