Harold Hill households say new development is flooding their gardens
Angry homeowners in a Harold Hill street say a new building site has put their gardens under four inches of water – and accused the council of “washing its hands” of the problem.
Surface water from the new bungalows built at the foot of gardens on Grange Road is running into the residents’ land – even though the council was warned of the flood risk before it gave the bungalows planning permission in 2007.
“I’ve got two hoses running the water away down the garden,” said resident David Fairweather, 63. “When it rains it’s even worse.
“I got in touch with the planning department and an officer informed me there’s nothing wrong with the drainage at the site. If there’s nothing wrong, why are we getting flooded?”
Mr Fairweather said he was worried the drainage problems would invalidate his insurance. “The water’s gone underneath my patio and the patio’s all gone funny,” he said.
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“The council gave permission for it and now they’re washing their hands of it. They don’t want to know. I’ve learned a lot in the last five years about Havering Council and as far as I’m concerned they must be the worst council in the country.”
Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton) said he warned the planning committee about the flood risk before it granted permission to build the bungalows.
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“With more building there’s a bigger flooding risk because it isn’t being soaked up,” he said, “and that’s exactly what’s happening.
“Councillors thought I was just winding them up and saying it for the sake of opposition, but now the residents have told me that exactly what I said would happen is coming true and their properties are in danger of damage.”
Mr Fairweather said the bungalow development was two metres lower than plans showed, which had brought it dangerously close to the water table – the natural level of water in the ground. “When it rains, the bungalows are on top of a lake,” he said.
Father Angelus Houle, the priest at St Dominic’s Church down the road from Mr Fairweather, said drainage had been a problem since he joined the parish in October.
“Part of the pavement has collapsed so there’s a big pit,” he said. “You’ve just got the run-off from the hill.”
He added the downpours a fortnight ago had put his garden under three inches of rain.
But Havering Council’s deputy leader Steven Kelly said the Environment Agency did not class the bungalow site as a flood risk area.
“Since the complaints, we have visited the site and have ensured that the gullies on the street are clear and allow surface water reaching the street to drain properly,” he said.