£100,000 needed to improve drains in Rochford

Terry Cutmore - leader of Rochford Council

Terry Cutmore - leader of Rochford Council

First published in News by

FLOOD defences in Rochford could be given a £100,000 boost in a bid to prevent a repeat of Sunday’s scenes.

Rochford District Council and Essex County Council are in talks over giving £50,000 each towards improving surface water measures in the area and possibly come up with better drainage systems.

The money was discussed before Sunday, but improving how the area copes with excessive rainfall has been on the agenda since severe flooding last August.

Despite the money being pledged, campaigners claim the floods show plans to build more than 1,000 new homes in the area should be scrapped.

Tory Terry Cutmore, leader of Rochford Council, said: “We have been given £50,000 from County Hall for flood defences which we will match, and we will press our partner organisations for the best deal for residents.”

It is not yet agreed where the money will be spent as it was due to be discussed at a meeting last night, which had to be postponed as representatives from Anglian Water and the Environment Agency were busy cleaning up flooding from the weekend.

A new meeting will take place at the end of August, and Rochford Council already has £18,000 to matchfund County Hall’s contribution.

Campaigners against new housing plans in the area claim 1,379 of the total homes earmarked until 2025 in Rochford Council’s Local Plan are in areas affected by the weekend downpour.

Linda Kendall, of the Rayleigh Action Group, who is leading a judicial reviewagainst the Local Plan allocation, said: “They said last year’s floods were a one in 100 chance – yet here we are again, a year later.

“Building on greenfield sites is going to be a disaster for the whole of Rayleigh.

“The area already cannot cope, because it wasn’t expected there would be development already on the scale we’ve seen, so there’s nowhere to take away the water.

“Councillors should speak to the flooded residents, who know differently.”

London Road in Rayleigh was described as a ‘moat’ by locals, while nearby Victoria Road saw houses flooded.

In the authority’s housing allocation, 550 new homes are planned for land north of London Road, Rayleigh, with a further 500 in Hullbridge.

Rochford will take 600, Hockley 50, Hawkwell 175, Ashingdon 100, Canewdon 60, Ashingdon 500 and Great Wakering 250.

But Mr Cutmore said: “I’m not an engineer and we aren’t the authority responsible for drainage. That’s why we took advice from organisations such as Anglian Water and the Environment Agency in putting together our housing plan.

“We’ve pressed them for the most sustainable drainage systems to go with the proposals, and we’ve created areas where the water can be discharged to – so its fair to say what we have in place is better than we’ve had previously.”

Council road sweepers have been clearing the roads of any flooding debris.

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