Fittleworth villagers count the cost of flooding


Fittleworth parish councillors recorded a catalogue of problems when they met for their first full meeting following the village’s flooding nightmare

Only days before the meeting, flood water was restricting access to the pavilion. This is now a recurring problem with the risk of flooding to both the sports pavilion and the adjoining village hall.

Just one year ago, a drainage pipe on parish council land adjoining the play area was replaced because of blockage by tree roots at a cost of some £2,000.

A continuing section of the drain, to the front of the village hall passing under the pavilion, has also collapsed. Replacing the accessible part of the pipe with PVC would cost around £5,500, but the inaccessible section under the building would require specialist attention. An alternative solution, laying a longer PVC pipe around the buildings, would cost about £8,000. Councillors deferred a decision for more quotations and to discuss the matter with the county council which parish councillors felt had some responsibility as the drain could not cope with the tremendous run-off from the road.

Residents of High Trees private estate were concerned about excess surface water from the recreation ground affecting their homes.

Improvements to the culvert were planned under the county council’s Operation Watershed, but this scheme had run out of money and was now closed.

Richard Godfrey, treasurer of the High Trees management committee, who has been co-opted on to the parish council, asked whether the grant bid had been submitted. He was told the form had been completed but it was awaiting authorisation by county councillor Janet Duncton when the scheme closed. The county council hoped to re-open it later this year and Mrs Duncton said she would support the grant.

Nigel and Christine Selby were concerned with drainage at the bottom of Tripp Hill where their garden was flooded with sewage for the second time in two years.

Southern Water dealt with the problem, caused by tree roots and poor maintenance. The pumping station was also allowed to overflow into the river and was apparently ignored for weeks despite the fact millions of gallons were extracted daily at the Hardham Works, just two miles downstream. This will be reported to the Environment Agency.

Jo Mansfield, founder of the Fittleworth Traffic Action Group (F-TAG), was flooded out of her cottage and has no plans to return.

Christmas cuts highlighted the problem of frequent short power cuts throughout the year. The council is to compile a list of cuts to present to SSE for action.