Floody Saturday

Down Hall Road, Rayleigh
Debris in Deepdene Avenue, Rayleigh
Deepdene Avenue
Railway Bridge at Hockley (photo from Cllr Keith Hudson)

You won’t be surprised to know that Watery Lane is flooded – more bad times for the people who live there. But it’s been a dreadful day across our district. Homes flooded, roads flooded, roofs letting in water, fish escaping from garden ponds, road surfaces damaged and debris been carried downstream….

Where can we attribute blame?
Freak weather?
Over-development in some areas?
Are drains and ditches being maintained properly?
Too many gardens being hard-surfaced?


  1. Cllr Seagers @ 99. Yes I understand we need new housing. I also understand we need to provide a travellers site because of a central government policy, so yes we do agree on that. I’m not sure about the numbers involved or the sites choosen, but you given us your and RCD’s view on that, so we don’t need to go over that again.
    Thank you for taking the time to engage with me and give me your and RDC’s point of view.

  2. Cllr. Seagers – in fact I agree with much of what you say, especially about extensions etc. Does this “easing” apply to greenbelt properties though as I have seen applications turned down recently due to not being in keeping with greenbelt. I am wondering if, if someone just went ahead and built a totally out of keeping extension without applying for planning permission they would be allowed to keep it, even though the property is in greenbelt, under this new rule. (It’s OK, I’m not about to built one!)

  3. Christine Paine re post #102
    My belief is that the easing does not apply to greenbelt limitations, which are generally set quite low in additional area and bulk when extensions are given permission. The recent easing appears to enable rear extensions of up to 8m depth v. 4m allowed previously (where Permitted Development Rights exist – often removed in more recent developments) without planning permission, when not in greenbelt. Even outside greenbelt there are still some exceptions I believe where notified immediate neighbours can demonstrate harm. It is still a new grey area to me so anyone contemplating such extensions should ALWAYS consult the RDC Planning Team first, as on any proposed development.

  4. Jim Cripps re post #100
    If your comment is aimed at me or any other District Councillor not from Downhall & Rawreth or Rayleigh etc. then think again. Council Wards are represented on the basis of approximately the same number of voters per Councillor throughout the District i.e. a Ward returning 3 Councillors has three times as many residents as one returning only one Councillor. Are you therefore suggesting that Wards in your part of the District should have more Councillors per resident than say mine in Foulness & Great Wakering?
    In any event, although each Councillor represents a particular Ward, there is an overriding duty upon each of them to consider the overall needs of the whole District foremost.
    Such an imbalance as you appear to suggest would hardly enhance local democracy, just remember what the imbalance of Parliamentary representation favouring small inner city and Scottish constituencies produced from 1997 to 2010, and that unchanged situation could easily recur again in 2015 thanks to a self-serving decision of Lib-Dem MPs to renege on their agreement to rebalance the numbers of voters per parliamentary constituency. (Yes, I know they did not get everything they wanted re the Lords re-vamp, but Conservatives kept their end of the bargain simply to put those matters before Parliament.)

  5. #104 – Quote:-
    “… there is an overriding duty on each of
    them to consider the overall needs of the whole district foremost.”
    Exactly – the whole district has a quota for Traveller Site accommodation , so lets put it all in West Rayleigh, fair & equitable (NOT).
    So if I’m not happy with that can I protest by voting you and other district councillors out – no I can’t because my vote is in a Rayleigh ward.So yes you are, by definition long range government (as I said in #100).

  6. Cllr.Seagers. This is a small site and many contributors write posts anonymously. People get to know who’s who and all is fine. However, as I have submitted many documents under my actual name to the RDC relating the LDF, other more general local problems and indeed attended and spoken at many West Area Committees, which unfortunately have now been condemned to Room 101, I am quite prepared to announce that I am Mr. A. Stone, Grad.I.Fire.E.
    To start with Cllr. Seagers, I did not use the words “untrustworthy liars” my exact words were “how can we trust or believe they will achieve a satisfactory and safe situation”.
    The example I used in Post 48 was to highlight a real example of a meeting agreed to by RDC and attended by their Senior Technical Officer (RDC-STO).
    The meeting was formally recorded by the Clerk to the Rawreth Parish Council in agreement with all in attendance. Also in attendance were myself, the George Wimpey Repesentative (GWR), Rawreth Parish Councillors and Local Residents. The RDC-STO was also representing the Water Authorities who did not attend. Cllr. Black was aware of the meeting but sent his apologies . The need for this information will become apparent below.

    I personally raised concerns, Via Rawreth Parish Council, about the ditch, which takes the ‘run off’ water from the Priory Chase estate, when a decision was made by RDC planning officers in conjunction with GWR that the base level of the ditch adjacent to Laburnum Way could be solved by raising the level of the bottom of it in the form of a French Drain stating that this would have no detrimental effect in the flow of water and would overcome an odour from stagnant water during summer months. Laburnum Way residents were consulted on this but, for some reason, not residents opposite in Rawreth Lane whose property footings are much lower than the upper level of the ditch. I am included in this.

    Within a short period the ditch was levelled with at least 10 tons of pea shingle and the culvert under the bridge into Laburnum Way was reduced in clearance from two feet to just nine inches, an 87.5% reduction in the free space previously available.
    I researched what a French Drain is and apart from the principle of using pea shingle, no other factors provided by GWR & RDC came close to the true description of such.
    I again complained about this knowing full well that what they had provided would not act in the manner they were telling me and how right I was. In less than two weeks when heavy rain occurred, I had all the evidence I wanted, as water was lapping against the roof of the culvert and washing up the banks of the ditch. I passed this information on to RPC who then forwarded it to RDC.

    I wish to make a point here that during my career I studied and qualified in Hydraulics and I used this occurrence to calculate the amount of water I considered to be flowing in the ditch. My estimation for this level of rainfall was approximately 300 gallons (1350 litres) per minute of water and concluded that in torrential conditions this could easily increase to 500 Gallons (2250litres) per minute.

    Now I come to the point where I can prove that local officials in some cases cannot be trusted or believed. These are actual statements recorded on 31st July 2008 by CRPC.

    I alone raised all of the following questions.
    Q.1 “Can you confirm this is a French Drain”?
    A. from both RDC-STO and GWR. “The principal of the works was that of a French Drain”

    Q.2. Were technical data sheets or computer models for French Drains used in respect of this project?
    Answer from both RDC-STO and GWR. “No”.

    Q.3. Were calculations done to establish the flow rate of water under the most severe conditions (storm and flash flood) thus ensuring the reduced volume of the culvert would be able to cope with such a deluge?
    A. RDC-STO and GWR confirmed “that no new calculations were done prior to the installation. They also stated that “prior to both the developments {Wimpey & Asda} being given planning permission flood risk assessments would have been submitted to RDC.
    As part of the answer to this question, GWR and RDC-STO also confirmed that “under the new development at Priory Chase, holding tanks had been installed to ensure the rate of surface water flowing into the drains was restricted.
    It was then explained that when an area was open fields the water would have flowed naturally into the ditch through the land, now because the land has been developed and roads and drains installed the same amount of water would still be flowing into the ditch only quicker, this is why it is restricted by being held in tanks under the ground and each tank is fitted with a Hydro-Brake Flow which controls the water flow.

    Q.4. Who will be responsible if the flooding from the ditch causes damage to property?

    A. GWR and RDC-STO reiterated that nothing had been done to impede the flow of the water or the capacity of the ditch and that the works carried out were done to try to minimise the risk of flooding by ensuring the brook ran clear.

    Q.5. This question is not verbatim but it revolved around who was responsible for the maintenance of the ditch in the future.

    A. GWR stated that he was looking into the ownership of the land and the maintenance and he knew that there were concerns by from the residents about the level of maintenance and the build up of debris.

    Q.6. Statement rather than question to GWR . “In my opinion there is still a possibility of flooding and from you and a “duty of care” was owed to the residents.
    A. GWR accepted this. No comment was offered by RDC-STO.

    End of questions.

    To continue Cllr Seagers, this is an example of why, through passed experience, I have little trust and belief in what some of our council officials spin to us.
    Take my questions above,
    Q.1. They did not agree it was a French Drain, only that the principal of the works was that of a French Drain. A misleading comment in my view.

    Q.2. A straight answer No. Why had they not done this?

    Q.3. Again they had not bothered. If, as they stated, “that planning permission flood risk assessments would have been submitted to RDC” why were no new calculations were done prior to the installation. I see this as a material change of conditions to the initial planning application and should have been dealt with as such.
    Is it also a coincidence that the statement here, 5 years ago, is also almost identical in content to what you and Cllr. Hudson are currently quoting regarding New {{Development and flooding.
    Let us make it perfectly clear that all new development will need to conform to the “National Standards for Sustainable Drainage Systems, December 2011”
    Any pump or pipe has a finite capacity even when properly maintained which, unfortunately, some have not been. The new SUDS directive requires the provision of “Swales” and “Balancing ponds” to handle the deluge that a cloud burst can bring; the holding system will then discharge, in controlled way, to a significantly enlarged system of surface water drainage}}.
    Just a new version of the old to keep up with new technology. I hope all the flaws have been addressed!

    Q.4. They got that completely wrong didn’t they! This ditch has been within an inch of overspill level on about seven occasions since the works were carried out and has breached it’s banks on three occasions.

    Q.5. All maintenance has ceased on the ditch as no one knows who is responsible for it.

    Q.6. Who will now take this “Duty of Care” if nobody is responsible for it?
    I suggest it lies with RDC for allowing the work to be carried out without reconsidering the situation or requiring a further planning application before the work was carried out.

    To conclude, Cllr. Seagers, I will not back down from the fact that we cannot always trust or believe in what our council officers tell us, as above is the proof that they do fail and furthermore they do not listen to what residents have to say.

    I will also challenge you on derogatory comment about me being gutless as I consider it to be verbal abuse and not becoming of a councillor.
    I spent many years in a profession where to be gutless would have put my life, and the lives of those I was responsible for, at severe risk. Gutless I am not.
    I am not surprised that you are alienating others who use this site but I guess that does not bother you greatly.

    I will sign off now as Greenbelt and will continue to do so.

  7. Jim Cripps re post #105
    And by the same logic residents in other Wards cannot vote your chosen representative off from Rayleigh Wards, Downhall & Rawreth Ward or any other Ward, but you don’t see either them or me complaining despite not all other Councillors sharing our views.
    That is democracy, or else if only you and your neighbours wants were considered solely within RDC it would be ‘Passport to Rayleigh, Downhall & Rawreth’ rather than ‘Passport to Pimlico’!

  8. Greenbelt re post #106
    So what is this in your post #48? “DO NOT believe RDC councillors statements…..” if not intended to question and demean the honesty and trustworthiness of RDC Councillors of all political persuasions?
    If, as you now state, your argument is a technical one in which RDC Officers have advised Members, then a Member such as Cllr Black with almost 3 decades of experience should be fully able to get to the bottom of the problem without my aid, particularly following his apparent previous involvement with it and specific local Ward knowledge concerning it.
    I do not claim to be an expert on drainage ditches and drains but I do note that any partially blocked grids on culverts and drains may not necessarily have been so immediately prior to the unprecedentedly heavy rainfall recently, as such heavy flood waters may carry debris down from higher up on the banks of watercourses. Dependent upon their situation, I believe ditch and watercourse clearance/maintenance is primarily the responsibility of the landowner, or else Essex County Highways or the Environment Agency.

  9. #108 – Missing the point again, it’s no accountability to the ward you don’t represent ie:
    Great Wakering vote you back in because you made sure they did’nt get the Travellers Site-
    what a great bloke. Those who get the problem
    (in Rayleigh) can’t hold you too account for
    your (and others) decisions – that is not
    democracy. Just like MEP’s in Brussells…..

  10. Perhaps it’s a case the the residents in Gt Wakering have no idea what is going on! After all the Rayleigh and Wickford Conversative webpage and the Rochford and Southend East websites have no local news items on them – Unlike our local LibDems who keep everyone in the loop, the local Tories seem to follow the national agenda of doing only what is good for themselves!

  11. Cllr. Seagers. I refer you to post 29 in which you :-
    “Wherever there is new development there will be a requirement for the Developer to provide all necessary improvements to the existing local drainage system to the satisfaction of Anglian Water, Essex County Council and Rochford District Council (as the local planning Authority) in order for them to build the new homes and this will include addressing the type of weather event that we have just experienced.
    Thus if you have a new development proposed to be built near where you live rest assured that not only will it not adversely affect your property’s resilience to localised flooding but conversely may well actually improve your protection”.
    Another Councillor, Keith Hudson, also made this exact comment in an article published in the Evening Echo.
    You were the first person to quote the above comment on this site and as such my response was to a councillor. The point made in the second paragraph starting at “rest assured that not only will it not adversely affect your property’s resilience to localised flooding but conversely may well actually improve your protection” can now actually be proved to be false and misleading due to the facts relating to the Priory Chase estate. I want the residents of Rochford District to be aware of this and it was my prime reason for highlighting the Priory Chase situation in such detail,
    Also you appear to bring into the debate that I am only making reference to unprecedented recent heavy rainfall. I did not mention that at all. If you had read my post properly you would have noticed that I have been campaigning for a solution to this particular problem for more than five years and, it was to demonstrate a point to you that you seem to be missing.
    My campaigning has addressed all the responsible agencies and authorities you refer to and I have directed questions to councillors, by name, in the past at West Area Committee meetings but, only on about 10% of occasions, did I get a straight answer. Most councillors had to defer my questions to the Chairman who then quoted the majority party line in response or sought help in answering from the Council officers present.
    Moving on, what makes you think me, and Cllr. Black want “your aid to get to the bottom of this problem”? Even, after all I have written, you still haven’t a clue. The real problem is that this ditch has, and I quote again, “been within an inch of overspill level on about seven occasions since the works were carried out {five years ago} and has breached it’s banks on three occasions”. This never happened in the preceding 25 years.
    I don’t know who will ever resolve this problem but I do think RDC should now take on the responsibility and rescue it before a number of nearby properties become flooded. Water was just two inches below my front door threshold on Saturday 31st September and I was on holiday at the time.
    Finally, no response to my “verbal abuse” comment in your reply. I suppose I was a fool to expect one! Who supplied the brush to sweep it under the carpet?

  12. It’s raining again. People are reporting sewers lifting, flooding in back gardens again, and what are Anglian Water doing – zilch. One lady has been told they can’t come out until Monday. What exactly do we pay water rates and council tax for. Come on RDC, get your act together and get some help for people, get the ditches etc. cleared. Carpenters Arms area has been flooded outside Richlee Motors since last time and no-one has looked at the drain there. How much do you expect people to put up with.

  13. Well, Richlee Motors area has finaly had something done, it’s clear of water at the moment. Whether it has been properly fixed or just pumped out and will fill and flood again we’ll probably find out over the next 24 hours if the forecast is correct.

  14. Christine #113 – Boston Avenue “run-off pond” is still covered in water weeks after the
    Floody Saturday, and the Culvert running under the Eon-Bellway building site is again running high – who would buy on that site?. Oh but of course according to the RDC party line if you live near a new Development you are less likely to flood and can rest-assured ………………….yeh right !!!!.

  15. I see this issue (specifically Fairmead) was on the BBC Look East TV news today , seems people are still displaced and might be for months yet.
    Does anyone know if any organization are doing anything to avoid this happening again – Anglian Water/Environmental Agency/Council/Bellway Homes (eon site)….?.

  16. Just seen the weather forecast for Sunday/Monday namely a
    storm & sustained torrential rain – if you live near a culvert suggest you take photo’s of it now (over-grown/blocked by rubbish /already running high).Just be
    aware of another rare “exceptional” rainfall…………

  17. Seems that almost a year after the floods the great and the good at Rochford district Council are finally going to start talking about it, people may wish to attend, and also disagree with their listed priorities

    Rochford District Council – Flood Advisory Group – Public Attendance Welcome. 23rd July Civic Suite Rayleigh – Room 4
    – 19.00hrs

    Forum for Surface Water Flooding Issues
    23 July 2014, 7pm, Room 4 Rayleigh Civic Suite



    Cllr T G Cutmore Cllr B T Hazlewood
    Cllr K H Hudson Cllr Mrs J A Mockford
    Cllr C G Seagers Cllr D J Sperring
    Cllr I H Ward

    1. Budget

    2. Watery Lane

    3. Hedgehope Avenue – confirm satisfactory completion of works

    4. Sweyne Park

    5. Highways hotspots – progress (Spa Road Hockley, Hall Road Rochford, Rectory Road, Hawkwell, and Church Road, Hockley)

    6. Kingsmead Cottages, Barling Road

    7. Salem Walk & Fairmead Rayleigh

    8. Westminster Drive Hockley

    9. Riverside Industrial Estate and the Horse and Groom Pub

    10. Laburnham Way Rayleigh

    11. Rochford reservoir outfall – maintenance works

    12. Fairmead and Salem Walk, Rayleigh

    13. Any Other Business

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