TWENTY YEARS OF FLOODING IN CROOKHAM VILLAGE

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The flooding issue in Fleet is varied and widespread, aggravated by a lack of pumping station facilities, too many new builds and confusion over drainage and ditch ownership. In some cases the offenders are obvious, in others, not so much and proving culpability isn’t always as easy as it seems.

In addition to this, the local population are growing increasingly worried about the ongoing stream of new builds, packing houses into every square inch of green land around us and placing an even greater load onto the already struggling drainage and sewage systems, posing a seemingly miserable future for residents that live near them.

With this in mind, we hear from local resident Jayne, who tells us about her 20 years of flooding in Fleet and the ongoing struggle to get something done about it…

I live in a 2 bedroom cottage in Crookham village and have been here approx 20 years. We have always had a flood on our driveway right from the start of moving in but accepted it at the time, as part of living in the countryside.

Alongside my cottage is a public right of way with a ditch that carries the water from the large fields at the back of me on to the ditches adjoining the street. In a perfect world it would be wonderful if this flow of water did what was expected of it but of course that isn’t the case. There are problems with the water because the owner of the fields doesn’t seem to care where his water goes, as long as it doesn’t interfere with his life…the ditches are not maintained and in some places are non existent. In fact the ditch in the right of way is being maintained by ‘the naughty boys’ as I call them, those who are doing community service, before that when my husband was alive he did it twice a year.

 
BELOW: Flooding in Crookham Village, Fleet.
 

Crookham Village Flooding

 

Crookham Village Flooding

 

Now the ditches on the main street belong to God knows who, it seems no one is willing to take responsibility for them, they are in complete disarray and to my knowledge hardly ever maintained.They run under peoples driveways and along the grass verges.
There is obviously little or no maintenance done on them…there is no way water could be expected to flow along them-they are full of leaves and rubbish.

On the first night of the ‘big rain’, gallons of water hurtled down from the fields at an alarming rate, completely filling what ditches there were on the outskirts of the fields, then pouring into the ‘right of way’ ditch. Having nowhere to go as the main street ditches were completely blocked, the water turned on itself and flooded the pathway, back garden and front drive and then seeped really quickly under my house.

 
BELOW: Flooding in Crookham Village, Fleet.
 

Crookham Village Flooding

 

Crookham Village Flooding

 

The water was now over the top of my doorstep and when I ran into the back garden, I saw the water going into the conservatory and watched as the whole garden disappeared underwater..then of course, the electrics went.

To cut a long story short, the electricity board have told me that all underground cables were totally saturated and they have now fitted a device to cut off the electricity in case of fire…that’s all they can do, next time it will be an insurance job.

I have sand bagged the side of my house with 40 sand bags which were paid for and provided by myself (Hart do not provide free sandbags for flood victims) and I am about to make up another 40 to add to these…they are staying there long term. I am terrified that the damage done to the foundations will have a long term effect. Bearing in mind this is an old cottage and I have no idea what the foundations consist off.

 
BELOW: Flooding in Crookham Village, Fleet.
 

Crookham Village Flooding

 

I have tried contacting the local landowner of the field but I am just ignored and meanwhile I have to cope with the constant threat of flooding, something that he clearly neither cares about or plans to do anything about. To make matters worse he has shown interest in building several new houses on the land which already has so many problems and this is bound to make matters that much worse.

On top of this I have the added problem of a mystery ditch that is poorly maintained and apparently has no owner, I’ve spoken to HCC and I’ve even had the land registry people round looking through their archives to try and help but I guess no one want’s to take responsibility for this.

Surely there must be some kind of legislation, where landowners of drainage systems and ditches have to take responsibility for maintaining them and is there no limit for new builds on flood plains?

As more and more new builds appear in Fleet, I fear the problem will only get worse, no one wants to listen.

 

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