Dover District Councillor for Whitfield, David Hannent has been working behind the scenes on the issue of flooding in the Singledge Lane, Nursery Lane and Orchard Close. He is also tying this important issue into any proposed development of the Singledge Lane site and the affects that this would have on the already unacceptable flooding problems we have in Whitfield.

Below is a copy of his report on the flooding issues, some photos and the letter Mr Marsh received from KCC’s Drainage and Flood Manager:

REPORT ON FLOODING AROUND NURSERY LANE, SINGLEDGE LANE AND GREEN LANE, WHITFIELD

Councillor David Hannent

I am the District Councillor for Whitfield, I am a Chartered Surveyor and Building Engineer and am semi-retired from my practice in Dover.  I have lived in Whitfield on an off for over 50 years, in Bewsbury Crescent, and currently in Grace Meadow.

I attended a Parish Council meeting on 12 January, as I regularly do, and met Mr John Marsh who had a complaint about the flooding at the crossroads at the top of Green Lane.  I volunteered to meet with him, which I did at 3pm on 21 January, along with Mr R Pettman who had similar concerns.  At that meeting Mr Marsh outlined to me his correspondence with KCC going back several years, including a letter from Kathryn  Lewis of KCC dated 18 February 2014 once concerns had been voiced.

Mr Marsh provided me with a number of photographs and videos.  Mr Pettit was concerned about the damage being done to properties down Nursery Lane which had received the run-off from the flooding of the road.

The Issues

It appears that from a drainage ditch on Malmains Farm constructed sometime around 2010 to the KHS soakaway shown on the attached plan, surface water run-off from Malmains Farms and other areas which include the new proposed Abbey Developments site along Singledge Lane cause flooding in heavy rain to the junction of Singledge Lane, Green Lane and Nursery Lane to a depth making it impossible to pass and indeed I understand one car has been destroyed by this.  The flooding of this area subsequently results in a virtual river running down Nursery Lane and, at the same time, across Lenacre Farm water is flooding down to the lower areas of Guilford Avenue and Orchard Close past Lenacre Farm.  The water running down Nursery Lane runs on down to a number of other properties lower down.

I have personally witnessed the tanker employed by KCC to relieve the soakaway at that junction but have been given to understand that this tanker has been depositing the water back onto the Lenacre Farm site higher up the hill, thereby causing increased flooding lower down.

I am given to understand that the soakaway is a sump with two ring soakaways, one 5m and one 7m deep, both of which are filled with shingle.  The sump is in a poor condition with inadequate fencing and has not been cleared of shrubbery and small trees which in itself will make it less effective.  This is apparent.

I have subsequently met with Keith and Pauline Broadley of Lenacre Farm and with a number of residents of Singledge Lane at an informal meeting.  I have written to KCC (as the attached email) asking some basic questions in order to clarify the situation.  To date I have had no reply although chased..      

It appears that the following items require clarification:

Where precisely is the water coming from and has it something to do with the way that Malmains and Lenacre Farms’ land is tilled?

1.     I have had information that the water table has been rising and this should be  examined via the Environment Agency information.

2.     The flooding from top fields not only affects this junction but potentially affects every property at a lower level all the way down to the pumping station on the Sandwich Road.  With surface water running down Nursery Lane as it does, the soil water below and the soil drains to the pumping station are patently affected.

3.     I have asked that a holistic solution is derived before any further development  is carried out on any of the Malmains Farm or any land on Singledge Lane and before temporary works are carried out on any of the pathway of this water down to the pumping station and thereafter.  We have the circumstance where there have been issues with the existing Sandwich Road estate in respect of sewage and local soakaways in themselves are not a solution. 

4.     I at this stage do not know how many properties have been flooded or affected, although I have complaints from a number of residents about the issue and the photographs and videos themselves are quite explanatory.  I understand that Martin Leggatt of DDC has been dealing with specific areas, that Keith Broadlees has been pumping from lower down in the Guilford Avenue area and moving that water into a separate soakaway that he has on his site. 

I have kept the Parish Council, District and County Council representatives and officers advised.  What I am seeking is a full survey of this side of the Sandwich Road at least, to determine what the future surface water proposals will be so that any solution proposed for a particular area is a step towards that rather than a patch.  It is my view that no development should take place on this side of the Sandwich Road until these matters are totally resolved.  If a meeting is necessary, I would be pleased to attend it.

Councillor David Hannent

29 February 2016