|OGAFCA now attends quarterly online meetings with RBWM Flood Risk, Highways, Project Centre, and Volker Highways. The first of these was on 28 May 2021.|
One of the several items on the agenda was the state of the gullies on Fifield Road south of
Stewart Close leading to the chamber at B at the corner of Garden Cottage. It was agreed that the gullies would be cleared as soon as possible.
Before that had happened there was a brief period of extreme rainfall on Friday 18 June 2021 which caused serious flooding along this stretch of Fifield Road. This event was extremely traumatic for one resident whose home was completely inundated and she had to move out with her daughters to a rented flat in Maidenhead.
Someone posted a comment on the Facebook page of the Community "Group" referring to "so-called flooding in Fifield". I wonder what the traumatised resident makes of that !
RBWM decided to instal an extra gully at A and this was done very speedily. It is quite difficult to imagine quite how this is going to help at times of extremis. This new gully must feed directly into the existing underground pipe route connecting gullies on this side of the road to the chamber at the corner of Garden Cottage. Once this system is fully charged it is unclear how an extra gully is going to help.
At least it looks as if local government is making an attempt to respond but even more worrying is the potential problems posed by the building project to the ditch heading east from that point.
On the day of the flood this ditch was a torrent flowing at absolute capacity. In response to the developer's wish to squeeze in a third plot encroaching on this major and only exit route RBWM Planning granted permission on condition that a 600 mm concrete pipe be inserted in the stretch of ditch compromised by the south-eastern corner of the proposed third plot.
|By the time we became aware of this stupidity it was far too late to try and prevent the huge threat this poses and the pipe is now in place. We know that this route runs at capacity frequently and still fails to deal with the back-up. By creating a 600 mm capacity limit what happens to the volume of water from that original capacity that can no longer pass along the escape route ?|
|We fear that this problem will not go away and that at some point in the future a scheme will need to be invented to cope with it. Perhaps there will need to be pleading and negotiation with the landowner on the western side of the road to create a holding lake. This location has been returned to RED status until wet weather proves otherwise.|
The History ...|
This was the site of flooding in 2001, 2003-2004, Saturday 4 January 2014, and again on Friday 18 June 2021. In 2014 OGAFCA made this the priority location as the most residents and their properties were threatened.
Excess water collecting in this low point in the route northward through the village had forced residents to barricade their properties and deploy pumps. The roadside ditch had not been maintained for a long time and was barely visible, not at all helped by the occasional dumping of garden waste into it.
A site meeting on March 27 2014 was attended by Streetcare, the owner of the land opposite the houses, a local resident whose pumps had been deployed in the past, Borough Councillor David Coppinger, OGAFCA's chairman, and OGAFCA Environment's drainage volunteer. Drainage in this area was extremely confusing and Streetcare undertook to investigate further to clarify what was in place before a discussion of what improvements were possible. Indeed, barely an hour after the meeting ended a Streetcare team were clearing and jetting the drains and gullies along this stretch.
They discovered that contrary to expectations the gullies on the west side of the road did not extend away from the road at all but merely lead into the ditch, which was virtually non-existent anyway. There had also been sewage blockage problems involving Thames Water.
Streetcare's investigations were delayed by a seized manhole cover opposite Garden Cottage. This was replaced, allowing a more complete assessment of the situation. It was confirmed that this section of Fifield Road should drain via a chamber under the pavement into a ditch running eastwards along the fence of Garden Cottage towards the Polo pitch. When jetted from the road the connection from the chamber to the ditch was fine but the ditch bed was high and would prevent efficient run off. RBWM are not responsible for maintaining this ditch as it is on private land.
The ditch along the western side of Fifield Road had become virtually non-existent and to dig it out would probably have compromised the road structure as could be seen along one section where the kerbs were displaced. Streetcare instead decided to pipe the whole length and renew roadside gullies.
Streetcare said "However, this would only slightly improve the current situation if the previously mentioned ditch (eastwards along the boundary of Garden Cottage to the polo pitch) remains as it is now. So OGAFCA's assistance would be greatly appreciated."
We wrote to the Landowner and a site meeting took place in the afternoon of Thursday July 17 2014. The landowner, Mr Bennett, met with us and Streetcare on site. We are grateful to him for pointing out how that local system flows. Contrary to intuition drainage from this low spot actually flows SOUTH under the road to the chamber under the footway near the corner of Garden Cottage and then EAST alongside the Polo pitch.
At the end of October 2014 Streetcare carried out work to pipe the ditch on the west side of the road and install new curb stones and gullies. The gullies in the road now feed into this new pipe and from there under the road to the chamber.
The contractors reported that the ditch towards the polo pitch still needed to be cleaned out or water would back up in the new pipe. Streetcare contacted the landowner again who promised to carry out the necessary maintenance.