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Flood Update – progress to date

CCTV inspection to main street culvert completed ….no obstructions or damage, all clear and running well. We also asked for CCTV to be put down Westwell Lane, given two properties on the corner experienced water rising through the floors well before the flood water was present in Main Street, suggesting the water table was already saturated at this location. This survey revealed blocked and damaged drains in two locations, so further visits were booked using smaller access cameras. Last Thursday 18th February 2021 the blockage at the entrance to Westwell Close was removed, and the collapsed drain near the Main St junction was also cleared. Further works to apply a sleeve (similar idea to a stent) to support and prevent further damage here is to be programmed in.

Following on from last months report an ex-resident suggested that perhaps the old brick drains that were in the road prior to the new culvert being installed in the 80’s, may not have all been connected into the new culvert and if so, the water they would channel and extract could again be sitting on top of the high-water table that the village is known to have, rather than being fed from them into the culvert.  The resident advised that they knew for sure the drain outside their former home, Church View Cottage, was definitely connected as his father, an ex-builder, stood there and watched while the work was being done to ensure it was. As Anglian Water could find no evidence at all of an old brick culvert in Main Street as had been suggested, these old brick drains are maybe what people have seen over the years and assumed they were an old culvert …. either way Anglian Water have all this information and given they can see the connection in situ at Church View Cottage they will check back to see if the others were also connected and report back to TPC.

The foul drains have all been checked and flushed through and again are running well …this is a yearly operation completed by Anglian Water. There are some drain positions that are presently not on the inspection list but are now being added on and will now be included in the yearly inspection detail.

The Emergency Response Team is now all set up and comprises of a team of volunteers ready to respond when needed. All the equipment they required has been purchased and is held securely including pumps, hoses, buckets, a dehumidifier, shovels, wheelbarrows and approximately 50 sandbags which are made up and ready.

The teams first job was clearing the short ditch from Lucas Cottages to Tingewick Park entrance. This has made a massive improvement to the waters flow and the culvert exit is now clear and free flowing.   

The second ditch from Tingewick Park to Gawcott Road has also been cleared, as the pictures posted on Tingewick Life a couple of weeks ago showed. For this we needed contractors with a digger given the amount of undergrowth and the angle and depth of the ditch. This has now been widened, cleared of tree roots and again the water is running away well.

The third stage is the ditch from the other side of the Gawcott Road to the roundabout. This is a long section and we have applied to Buckinghamshire Council for help with this as it is in their ownership and Councillor Charlie Clare is helping to try and get this done.

The fourth stage of this process will be checking that the drainage pipes under the roundabout are also clear of silt, gravel and debris. Once cleared this should then stop the flooding at the roundabout that happens when the rain has been particularly heavy and ensure the water flow from the cleared ditches continues on its way.

The Flood Management Team are working on their report, as they said at the village zoom meeting, this will take around 10 months to produce. We have sent them assorted videos taken by residents of the day’s events for detail and clarity.

The PC have met with the landowner who owns the field behind the pond. He advised us that years ago there used to be a much larger pond there and he has agreed to reinstate the pond at the old location. This will give us a much larger holding area for any excess water and a more controlled release into the present village pond and then onto the culvert, plus a more visual indication that the runoff from the fields is high and that action may be required from the Emergency Response Team. There will be a cost for these re-instatement works of £2k to £3k, the PC can provide half of this, so we are pursuing help with grants from assorted sources like Defra and the Environment agency but also the village itself could contribute by means of a “Go Fund Me“ fund raising page. So, if anyone has any experience of setting one of these up or can help us get this off the ground asap, we would love to hear from you.

Similar approaches to other landowners up Barton Road to Westwell Business park have been made and are being followed up.

With the existing village pond, this too needs cleaning up and perhaps some specific planting added, plus we are also taking advice on how best to maintain it going forward. Monies generated from any fund raising would be spent on these improvements too. The underground exit pipe from the pond to the grid is to be checked and cleaned but at the moment that area is still under water and inaccessible. The pipe from the grid to the culvert is clear and runs well.

We have had an offer from a village resident to be part of a volunteer group that could be set up that would complete regular planned flood prevention maintenance for the village. Actions would include ensuring ditches and gullies are free running and undergrowth is cut back so as not to obstruct, pond exits are not overgrown and generally having more eyes out there checking that the build-up of obstructions we experienced and that added to the flooding before Christmas, is not repeated. This is an agenda item for the next PC meeting, Thursday 4th March 2021, to move this idea forward and seek out some willing volunteers. So please let us know if you are interested in getting involved, an information leaflet/poster is being put together to canvas support.

We are still awaiting advice as to when the remaining blocked gullies will be cleared. We have asked that the slit gullies be replaced, as being so narrow they block very easily and that new gullies be installed where rainwater is known to sit permanently in one or two places.  To replace kerbs where redundant dropped kerb positions are located or where the kerbs are damaged or have been eroded away due to age. This will then help retain and channel any excess water in the road down the now clear drains into the culvert and away.

So as you can see things there is lots going on and there is still lots to do, but we always knew it would take time to put right some of the items that had been overlooked for some years…but we are on it!!

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