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Bromley Council has been approached, over the last three years, regarding a groundwater/surface water flooding problem. The situation has arisen because my neighbour has removed the two ninety-year-old Weeping Willow trees and filled in the spring-fed pond that were on his property to control the well-known local problem of groundwater. The groundwater, controlled by this system since the houses were built in 1927, is now flooding my property leaving surface water that has now turned stagnant and a distinct reddish colour. The neighbour has refused to acknowledge the problem he has created and a disabled, widowed pensioner has been forced to fund measures in an attempt to protect her property and that of the other neighbours – who are also unwilling to assist.
The Government, the Mayor of London’s Office, my local Member of Parliament, my local Councillor, the Mayor of Bromley, Thames Water, and the Environment Agency, among others, have all stated the problem must be dealt with by the Local Lead Flood Authority.
As the Local Lead Flood Authority, Bromley Council is refusing to fulfil their obligation under the “Land Drainage Act 1991 and 1994”, the “Flood and Water Management Act 2010”, and their own 31 page “London Borough of Bromley Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, August 2015”. They also continue to ignore the health implications of the stagnant and coloured surface water. The department (Environment and Community Services) that includes Nigel Davies, Alistair Berry and Garry Warner, is the same department that last year spent £60,212 resurfacing an unadopted road that the Council do not own. Written off as a “mistake” this, surely, demonstrates the incompetence of the said department. Their only advice on how to cope with this problem was, from Alistair Berry, “plant some trees”. This, along with the installation of two dirty water sump pumps, I had already implemented – five Willow saplings cannot replace two well established, mature trees (which required 100 gallons of water a day each to survive).
Bromley Council is one of the four local Councils that form the South East London Flood Risk Management Partnership – along with Bexley, Lewisham and Greenwich. As a member of this “equal” partnership, Bromley Council’s actions demonstrate that are of the opinion that they have a lesser responsibility and are a law unto themselves. Their own plan for flood management is, according to Nigel Davies, purely “strategic, not operational” and does not apply to private property. Being on a salary of over £100,000 a year, he seems to accept the fact that a disabled, widowed, pensioner is being forced to fund the local drainage system – a problem that is not even of her making.
Under the “Land Drainage Act 1991 and 1994”, Bromley Council has the power to force the perpetrator to take remedial measures at his own expense – the Council will not have to spend any money!
What is the opinion of local residents on this situation?