Oakley Green, Fifield and District Community Association Ltd
Drainage update 8 - 20.02.2012
Good News….Bad News

It's time to take stock of where we are in our attempts to improve the nine "Wet Spots" in our area that the Environment Work Group identified and reported on as part of the Community Action Plan. For those who still aren't aware of that report it's available for download on the main ENVIRONMENT page or as hard copy on request.

The good news is that we hope we have successfully dealt with and signed off on two locations on the list. These were item one at the Cricket Ground on Oakley Green Road, and item three at Braywood Lodge. I say "hope" because we haven't yet had weather conditions that would truly test what's been done.

There's some partially good news for Wet Spot 5 on the Oakley Green Road at the field entrance next to Woodlands and opposite Fifield House. In times of extreme weather water flows out of this entrance onto the road and floods it for a considerable length. Streetcare lived up to their promise to investigate this location with our proposals in mind.

Our first basic recommendation was that the size of the pipe below the footway should be at least doubled. Unfortunately this has not been done, but in the process of jetting this pipe a break was discovered and work was scheduled and carried out to repair the break and install two new roadside gullies at the field entrance. Our minimum proposal was for a grid spanning the full width of the entrance that would feed into the existing pipe. So this is not entirely good news as it is doubtful that these new standard roadside gullies will have more than a brief delaying effect and much of the water volume is likely to simply flow past these gullies. We will of course have to reserve judgement and reassess the situation when we are next subjected to extreme wet weather.

The bad news is that the simplest of all the locations to deal with is still resisting. This is item 2 on our list at the speed bump on Fifield Road near Longlea Nursing Home. OGAFCA volunteers have twice been deployed at this location and will no doubt be required again. After two notices being issued by Streetcare to the owners of the adjacent land we are still no closer to finally getting the ditch re-established. Normally in these situations the matter would long ago have been passed to the Legal Department at RBWM. Unfortunately it seems this department has been in some disarray for a long time and there does not appear to be any change to this situation on the horizon. In September 2011 Streetcare informed us that "the Council are in the process of appointing a Flood Risk Engineer which should allow the resolution of this issue to be progressed."

The other item of bad news is that there has been no further progress with item 4 on the list at Coningsby Lane. This is a great shame as there are realistic and economic measures that could be taken to make real improvements to this situation. These were studied and proposed as long ago as 2002. Unfortunately a couple of local residents are unhappy about these proposals and it is unlikely that anything further can be achieved until the weather makes this location an obvious problem again as at some point it inevitably will.

That leaves four locations on our list still to deal with. These will require budgets beyond what is normally available. Unfortunately since early signs of enthusiasm from the RBWM "Big Society" Councillor with suggestions of a meeting at the Council offices we have heard absolutely nothing. On 8 October 2011 Theresa May made some local visits to households in Coningsby Lane. Her colleague, Councillor Love was rather surprised to be tackled on the subject of local drainage issues but asked for a follow up email with a summary of the situation and promised to follow up immediately. This was done within ten minutes of his departure, but sadly there has been no response.

In the hope of not seeming too pushy or irritant, we have been waiting patiently for the promised meeting date. Perhaps the time has come to stop waiting but for the moment it is as yet unclear how we might progress the four remaining "Wet Spots".

Rod Lord
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