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‘Immediate action’ needed to prevent future floods in Arnold

Leaders of Gedling Borough Council and Gedling MP Vernon Coaker have challenged Nottinghamshire County Council over plans to prevent future flooding in Arnold.

Gedling MP Vernon Coaker, Gedling Borough Council leader, John Clarke and deputy leader, Michael Payne issued the statement last night after the council revealed a study into improving flood protection for the town wouldn’t be completed until the end of the year.

The three Gedling leaders have now called on the council to act ‘swiftly and without hesitation’.

The MP and leaders said: “The severe floods earlier this year in Arnold caused significant damage to a number of people’s homes and local businesses – many of them, three months on, are still picking up the pieces.

“Whilst we welcome the recent publishing of the Flood Risk Management Section 19 Report by Nottinghamshire County Council, it is looking backward, not forward. It fails to provide any reassurances to local residents who do not want to see this type of devastation to their homes again.

PICTURED: Floods hit Arnold back in June

“We’ve listened to residents about what happened in the lead up to and during the flood, it is therefore disappointing and unacceptable that the report fails to mention contributing factors such as water run off towards Bentwell Avenue and Brook Gardens from the derelict County Council owned Rolleston Drive site. Nor does the report mention or address issues with blockages in the drainage ditch, which runs to the rear of Brook Gardens, Bentwell Avenue, Brook Avenue and the Rolleston Drive site.

The statement went on to call for Nottinghamshire County Council to take action ‘immediately’ and help prevent parts of the town being subjected to flooding again.

It said: “As the Lead Local Flood Authority responsible for flood risk management, residents expect Nottinghamshire County Council to take immediate action to address the issues mentioned above and other factors contributing to the floods.

Gedling-Borough-Council
PICTURED: Gedling leader John Clarke, left and deputy leader Michael Payne, right. (Credit: Joseph Raynor) Below: Vernon Coaker

“These issues cannot and should not wait until the outcome of the the ongoing in-depth study of the upper Daybrook catchment, which we have supported and welcome but is unlikely to be completed until the end of this year.

“Any further recommendations made later this year by the Upper Daybrook catchment study to improve surface water management in the local area should also be implemented swiftly and without hesitation.”

Parts of Arnold were flooded back in June when it was hit with torrential rain. 92mm fell in just three days — more than the average rainfall for the entire month.  

This excessive rainfall resulted in 24 homes and 20 businesses suffering serious flooding.

Nottinghamshire County Council yesterday reported on how the study was progressing and said they expected it to to be completed by the end of the year.

Gary Wood, Nottinghamshire County Council’s group manager for Highways and Transport said: “We understand the devastation that flooding causes and we empathise with residents and business owners in Arnold.

“As managers of flood risk in Nottinghamshire, we have a legal duty to publish a Section 19 Report and the purpose of this report is not to offer solutions but to ensure that all organisations involved carried out their functions satisfactorily at the time of and immediately following the flooding in June.  Understanding what happened can help us to prevent future flooding.

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“The water storage area adjacent to Rolleston Drive that reached full capacity and broke its bank is maintained by Gedling Borough Council and we’re working with partners to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities. It’s also important that property owners with water courses next to their property are aware of their responsibilities and we’re happy to offer them any support and advice.

“Prior to this flooding we have been looking at the complex surface water systems in the Upper Daybrook area with Severn Trent Water and Gedling Borough Council who are key partners and owners of assets in the area including the Rolleston Drive storage area. This extensive study will be completed later this year.  This will identify how we can improve the flood management systems in place in Arnold and we look forward to working with partners on the recommendations and reducing the risk of something like this happening again – ensuring residents’ homes and business properties are as protected as far possible.”

Nottinghamshire County Councillor John Cottee, chairman of Communities & Place Committee was unhappy about the claims from Mr Coaker, Clarke and Payne.

He said: “Vernon Coaker, John Clarke and Michael Payne are making a habit of misleading local residents, often to cover their own backs regarding problems that started on their watch.   We’ve seen this in relation to the Rolleston Drive site fire, and now we see it again over the flooding in Arnold.”

“The main cause of the flooding was a surface water attenuation area maintained by Gedling Borough Council, which reached full capacity and broke its banks on the evening of the 12th June affecting 24 residential properties and 20 business”.

“Nottinghamshire County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority is responsible for investigating flood events and ensuring that all of the relevant authorities carried out their functions satisfactorily.  Our officers have worked constructively with Gedling Borough Council and Severn Trent Water and have produced a Section 19 Report which was passed in committee this week.  This is a key part of the process to identify solutions, to stop this happening again.”

“It is clear to me that Labour politicians are pre-emptively seeking to pin false blame on others in order to downplay the responsibility of their own council regarding this incident.  There was no intention on behalf of the County Council to make this a political issue, because that does nothing to help the residents affected.  However, I will not stand by and watch the diligent and proper work of our excellent officers being trashed by Labour politicians seeking to abdicate their own responsibility.”   

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