Sussex

Cuckmere exhibition will mark changes to valley

Cuckmere Valley (picture by Chris Moles)
Image caption The Cuckmere Valley was created by the Victorians but flood defences will no longer be maintained

Artists and writers are being invited to contribute to an exhibition to celebrate the Cuckmere Valley following consultation about its future.

The Environment Agency gave notice in 2009 that it would withdraw maintenance of flood defences at the East Sussex landmark from April this year.

The existing defences are expected to deteriorate over about 15 years, allowing water on to the floodplain.

The exhibition will take place at various venues between 10 and 19 June.

Work by professional artists will be exhibited at the Pump Barn in Seven Sisters Country Park and by amateurs at venues in Seaford.

People who want to exhibit work are being asked to submit paintings, photographs, embroideries, sculptures, poetry or prose that reflects Cuckmere's past, present or future.

The exhibition is intended to launch the Friends of Cuckmere Association, to protect the future interests of the Cuckmere Valley.

Residents were opposed to plans to flood the valley, created by the Victorians in 1846, and turn it into a salt marsh nature reserve.

But the Environment Agency said climate change, rising sea levels, and economic pressures meant flood defences should no longer be maintained.

A series of meeting and workshops has been held with the local community and local authorities, landowners and other statutory bodies to decide on the best way to plan for the future changes.

The options include allowing the valley to return to a natural estuary, maintaining flood defences or carrying out engineering works to reactive parts of the river.

A final public meeting is to be held on 7 June 2011, with a full report being published over the summer.

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