AUG 00] WARWICK
DISTRICT COUNCIL NEWS
Flooding Chaos - Still No Action One Year On
BY ARRYN BUGGINS
Residents are still
waiting for action on flood-alleviation schemes in Kenilworth, a year
after floods devastated the town.
Rivers and streams
across Warwickshire burst their banks 12 months ago on 8 August.
While Coventry had
its heaviest downpour this century this time last year, the three
inches of rain in a few hours was starting to become a regular thing
Kenilworth, Leamington and Warwick were closed. Warwickshire Fire and
Rescue had to cope with five times the usual number of calls and many
people were mopping up their homes.
came just a year after the Easter Floods of 1998 that killed five
people across the Midlands and was one of the worst civil emergencies
that many can remember.
Action was promised
after both floods, but a much-talked about Environment Agency scheme
in Kenilworth has still not been agreed, let alone started.
Andy King, the
town’s MP, has threatened to shame the Environment Agency in
Parliament if it tries to pull out the scheme.
In a separate move,
Warwick District Council has announced it is put to aside £313,000
for schemes in the Leamington suburb of Lillington, Ashow village and
the Bates Memorial Field in Kenilworth. These still need the approval
of the full council, and have yet to be started.
Work on a Cubbington
scheme is already agreed and underway.
A council report in
to the latest deluge described many of its own drains as
But progress at
Leamington town hall is somewhat faster than the flood alleviation
scheme in Kenilworth where residents recall the Finham Brook breaking
its banks four times in recent years with flooding of homes in the
Mill End area.
An idea to recreate
the mere around Kenilworth Castle had been floated for some time, but
later scaled down, and talks continue involving the Environment
Agency, English Heritage, Andy King MP and local councils.
But progress is slow,
and no scheme has been agreed, even though work was supposed to begin
earlier this year.
Cllr Dave Shilton,
who was mayor at the time of the 1999 floods and helped residents and
council staff in the middle of the night said:
“We have had
several meetings about this but really people want to see something
done. I think The Environment Agency and English Heritage are
treading on each other’s toes.
“We want it
hurried up and want them to get on with it. There is no point them
blaming reach other if we have another flood while we are waiting
for them to get on with it.
“The people of
Mill End, Northvale Close and Forge Road are waiting with baited
breath for something to happen.
“We first heard
they were going to start work this year, but then there is talk of
holding everything up for archaeological digs. Kenilworth Town
Council has been pushing them to get on with it.
“We have to work
with them, but frankly I wonder when it is ever going to happen.
What are they going to say if there is another flood while they are
talking about this?”
The Tanyard Stream
that flows under the town centre and northwards to meet the Finham
Book at Mill End flooded many homes along its route.
The plan revolves
around building a reservoir at the back of the castle to hold water in
times of floods to control the flow along the Finham Brook and then to
gradually let water back in as the rains die down
Agency launched its Floodline Service (tel 0845 988 1188) and set out
on a publicity drive with the phrase: Floods Don’t Just to Happen to
Met with derision by
those who had suffered, the campaign was criticised by those waiting
for action, but found agencies prevaricating on what should happen
While residents were
chasing officials for action, they saw posters going up telling them
how to prepare for the worst.
But there cannot be
many people better preared than residents of certain parts of
Warwickshire who know only too well the how to protect their
belongings and who to contact following heavy rain
Graham Windybank feels work is finally underway and the news is not so
bleak. He said:
council has put money into flood alleviation and this is good news.
There have been many meetings to sort out what can be done.”
He said of the
Kenilworth Castle programme:
“The money is in
place and there is a scheme, but there is a possibility of a delay
if it affects the ruins of the castle and that would be
disappointing for people waiting for action.
has taken longer than some people would like but we have to make
sure these are done properly, but I understand why people are
concerned with the delay.”
McGowan, assistant to Warwick District Council's chief executive,
explained that work is about to get underway and there has been a lot
of investigations to get this far.
are important schemes and the engineers have to dot the 'I's and
cross the 'T's and check the details of the scheme.
have put some money in, and had to take money from other schemes,
but if they get the approval of the full council then we will go out
to tender with them.
certainly the will is there, and we are keen to get on with the