Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Annex A



  1.  Majority of all the people who responded to the questionnaire felt that the cause of the flooding was the development of housing estates on the flood plain areas. Further developments of this type must be stopped.

  2.  That drains, manholes etc are not cleaned or inspected regularly enough.

  3.  Brooks, streams and watercourses are not dredged and cleared and are dumping grounds for fly tippers.

  4.  Regular inspection of highway drains should take place to ensure that there has been no collapse of them due to large vehicles and extreme traffic.

  5.  That agencies need to get together to sort out the issue of flooding before it becomes worse.

  6.  Farmers should be encouraged to maintain land drains and clear ditches.

  6.  Roads should be closed if they become flooded. Consideration should be given to people and homes in these areas.

  7.  Attention should be given to Sewage Pumping Stations when heavy storms are forecast to ensure that they cannot fail and sewage in gardens, homes, roads etc do not occur again.


Methodology and results

  As a result of the prolonged violent rainstorms during June/July 2007, David Kidney MP sent 3991 questionnaires to residents living in Stafford Constituency where flooding has resulted in the past. This was done to evaluate the current impact of flooding in these areas.

  The areas that received a letter and "flooding" questionnaire were:
DoxeyDoxey Road
HaywoodsGreat Haywood   (Main Road)
Little Haywood   (Main Road)
Colwich    (Main Road)
Newport Road(No responses were received from this area. This may have been due to the fact that Newport Road was closed to traffic during this period, which would have helped the flooding problems.)
Rising BrookIncluding (Wolverhampton Road, Brook Glen Road, Hawksmoor Road)
Sandon Road   Including (Peel Terrace, Victoria Terrace, Albert Terrace, Tenby Drive, Coronation Road, Fonthil Road, Bertelin Road, Oxford Gardens, Frinton Close, Charnley Road, Peter James Court, Sandon Mews, Chesham Road, The Haybarn, Fairfield Court,)
Silkmore LaneIncluding (Meadow Way, Meadow Road, Exeter Street, Rickerscote Avenue, Pioneer Way, Silkmore Crescent, Prospect Place, Lancaster Road, Hall Close, The Rockeries, Rickerscote Road, Old Rickerscote Lane, Mallard Avenue)

  Of the 3,991 questionnaires sent to the areas mentioned above 345 people responded (8.64%). A minority of the forms were returned stating that the flooding had not affected them.

  While some resident's homes or gardens had been directly affected by water, many people who responded were affected by the flooding due to road closures, public transport cancellations etc.

Doxey—Resident's comments on the flooding situation in Doxey are summarised as follows:

    —  Recycling Point at Sainsbury's was flooded by several feet of water which caused skips to float around like boats. This situation continued into August.

    —  Flooding in 2002, River Sow backed up at Doxey Road Bridge, flooding road. Water re-entered river over grassy bank next to Conservative HQ. Recent work on cycle path next to river, this grassy area has been used to distribute the surplus earth thus raising its level and creating a "dam". Concerns that this now puts homes nearby at greater risk of flooding in the future.

    —  Sewers smelt badly in the Castletown area.

    —  Fears that development on the Railway Inn pub site will be more than the old sewage system can cope with.

    —  Future plans to build on Sainsbury's Long stay car park is folly given the times it floods, displacing flood water nearer to existing homes.

    —  The River Sow has been allowed to "silt up" banks have increased reducing flow. Reeds and debris need removing. Regular checks made on its condition throughout its length through Stafford.

    —  Planners allowed to develop on flood plains have caused these problems.

    —  Signage needed when Sainsbury's car park is flooded informing people. Also signage on M6 informing people that Long Stay Car Park is closed.


    —  Mill flooding problems known by Severn Trent and Stafford Borough Council, but still houses are being permitted to be built.

    —  Ensure that all streams/water courses/ditches are kept clean and dredged at least once a year.

    —  In 1960s Water Authority used to dredge rivers regularly, silt that built up was used to build up banks, rivers flowed more freely. The water was managed into flood plains like Radford and Baswich. This does not happen now. The river backs up from Radford Bank to Penkridge putting thousands of acres out of use and homes/businesses in danger.

    —  For the first time in 60 years Baswich Lane at St Thomas Mill (now being developed into homes) closed due to 1" water.

    —  Dredge rivers again, manage water like it used to be!

    —  Government to blame too many immigrants so more houses needed, more concrete, more tarmac roads (using food producing land)—the fields act like sponges holding vast amounts of water which seeps away slowly giving drains more time to work at intended.

    —  Not seen a dredger at work for 50 years—so come down heavy on water authority which should be run as a non profit making concern by the Government.

Rising Brook

    —  Live 40 yards from Severn Trent new flood alleviation tank, which according to their engineers is about as much use as a "chocolate" fireguard.

    —  Work done after flooding in 2003 to put tank in, groundwork has left land at the back of 94 Rising Brook raised so the natural drainage does not take place.

Sandon Road

    —  Money should be spent on preventative measures—this seems to have been done locally and is an example to rest of the UK.

    —  Drains in the area seem to be redundant—drainage seems to be a big part of the problem.

    —  Brook along the back of homes carries storm drain excess, responsibility for this is not known? Fly tipping causes increased risk as water does not flow freely.

    —  Sandon Road/Peel Terrace nicknamed "Little Venice" due to it flooding so frequently.

    —  Speeding cars through flood water showers the water against front doors, causing more problems for home owners. Roads should be closed when road is flooded.

    —  Drains in Sandon Road seem never to be cleaned.

    —  Request for Culvert to be dug/dredged deeper.

    —  Drains do not work in Fonthill road, gutters are lower than the drains, drains higher than gutters, water cannot go down the drains easily, stays in gutter until evaporation.

    —  Above problem seems to have been created when road and pavements were resurfaced.

    —  Comment that concrete went down the drains at time of resurfacing and set!

    —  Roads should be regularly cleaned.

    —  SBC were responsible for the brook now another agency, in previous years vegetation allowed to become intense. Clearing brook would reduce the risk of flooding.

    —  By raising the level of some roads eg, Doxey Road, Sandon Road, Silkmore Lane, Mill Bank, this would then prevent these roads being closed during flooding.

    —  Flooding always occurs in same areas of Sandon Road in heavy rain. Poor service from council for high council tax.

    —  Flooding on Sandon Road near Shell Garage always happens. Must be a known problem but nothing is done about it.

    —  Flooding on roads where a high level of traffic movement should not be allowed. These roads should be closed.

    —  Work carried out on Sandon Road in the past seems to have made problems worse.

    —  Future problems perceived in future with brook overflowing on Astonfields Road and Peter James Court.

    —  People at 357 Oxford Gardens fly tip which was reported to Phil Gammon, SBC but nothing was done about this.

    —  Static brook at the bottom of garden which after heavy rain overflows and floods the garden.

    —  Brook causes Sandon Road/Crooked Bridge Road to flood is not kept clean. Should be kept clean from Sandon Road to Queensway this would help flooding.

    —  Garden under water since June 4" deep due to old stream bed becoming flooded.

    —  Bring back the Road Men that cleaned out the ditches and drains.

    —  Building more houses but now the sewers needed for them.

    —  Pleased that improvements along the lower part of Sandon Road at junction with Corporation Street seem to have worked. Eternally grateful for this. Balancing pools clearly working, just petrol station area still a problem.

    —  Don't allow construction of new premises without a full impact study.

    —  Flooding in Sandon Road caused by housing constructed on the Lotus site.

    —  Town drains must be cleared of debris if similar situation is to be avoided in the future.

    Cost cutting on maintenance is not an option.

    —  Housekeeping on the brook is needed, also balancing lakes behind Sandon Road, vegetation needs attention, good for wildlife no good for humans.

    —  Serious look at the drainage system in Sandon Road is badly needed.

    —  Severe rainstorms makes for flooding in the area even though improvements were made to the culvert running under the road. Feel angry that as a ratepayer do not get value for money.

    —  Due to flooded roads pavements disabled scooter user was housebound for five days.

    —  Drains between Anslow's Butchers and Fish and Chip shop drain very slowly in heavy storms.

    —  Drains at junction of Sandon Road and Fairfield Court do not seem to work properly.

    —  Slight dip in the road near the petrol station causes water to collect. Cars drive fast through this spraying pedestrians and school children on pavements.

Silkmore Lane

    —  Silkmore Lane road is low lying, causes water to hang. Very busy road emergency vehicles had difficulty during floods.

    —  oncerns over treed behind 80 Silkmore Lane, overhang gardens 50-60" high branches break off. Branches also cover street lights. Path at the rear is now overgrown and youths hang around there.

    —  Sow & Penk Board made reference that tributary drains are not maintained by them, this affects the area increasing the depth of silt build up.

    —  Environment Agency stated that the development at the end of Exeter Street had been factored into calculations and that flooding would not be significant due to the development. As a condition of this development a wetland was created by lowering a piece of land to the NW of Meadow Road. This has not worked as my home 156 Exeter Street was surrounded by flood water.

    —  Radford Meadows, development in Pioneer Way, Meadow Close, Old Rickerscote Village, Prospect Place have caused flooding problems which have now increased.

    —  Rarely see grid/drain cleaning vehicle in the area.

    —  Leaves and debris from trees etc block the drains and more attention should be paid to them.

    —  Drains in Silkmore Lane and surrounding areas overloaded.

    —  Stop builders from building on brown field sites known to flood.

    —  Trapped in home due to flood could not get out of home on foot or by car.


    —  Further housing on the flood plains will undoubtedly cause additional flooding problems in the region.

    —  Clean ditches behind houses on Prospect Plant of reeds and sludge on an annual basis.

    —  Council looked into turning part of the Marshland into a lake many years ago, but did nothing because of cost, could this proposal be initiated again?

    —  Severn Trent have failed to clean the Penk Drain at the rear of 121 Rickerscote Road over the past years. Previous clearances have resulted in the creation of a high bank on one side of the drain. This causes floodwater to be forced into garden because of the natural flood plain is obstructed.

    —  Concrete works and Freedom Caravan site forcing water to go other places than it did previously.

    —  Lived here 21 years in Meadow Road until this year never flooded before.

    —  Sewage pumping station bottom of Meadow Road broke down during the floods and sewage escaped into the brook and South End field. The smell in the houses and around the area is disgusting. South End football field is brown from sewage.

    —  People caused traffic jams coming to look at the flooded area.

    —Work should be done on the brook bank to sort it out and help alleviate flooding.

    —  Sort out the sewage/drainage plant to help with flooding and blocked drains as they smell when flooded and it is really dreadful.

    —  Manhole at the back of 57 Silkmore needs to be made bigger to take away sewage. Back entrance from Pioneer Way needs to be tarmaced instead of soil which was promised by house builders.

    —  Make sure any flood prevention methods used to not transfer water to someone else's backyard. Eg. Barratt Homes built on sitet in Silkmore Lane, the water is now pushed from that site to adjoining properties.

    —  New flood prevention measures through Stafford probably causing heavier flow down stream to where rivers join near Baswich are and flooding occurs.

    —  Queens Court was like an island surrounded by water, the smell was awful.

    —  Recent development in Silkmore Lane resulted in ground level being raised by a metre. This area always flooded in the past, now it does not and the water goes onto the flood plain or towards Stafford town.

    —  Floods were of unprecedented heights at the back of my home for the time of year don't know how the wildlife coped.

    —  Accessing work in centre of Stafford was impossible due to road closures and traffic chaos ensued.

    —  Amazed in 2007 that town like Stafford has a problem. Parties should consult something, can be done but won't be cheap or easy but is possible. Study what has been done overseas and apply it here solve a very sever problem and fee up a great deal of currently useless land for practical purposes.

    —  Start dredging the rivers again to give flood water more depth. In past rivers could be 10-15" deep in the centre, not only 5-6".

    —  Flooding I feel was worse because brook under Silkmore Lane has not been cleaned out. Field opposite the lane also use to have a ditch running through it but it is full of silt and rubbish.

    —  Drain cover outside 110, 112 and 114 Rickerscote Road higher than the road level. Causes water to collect and pond.

    —  Camera survey would discover why drains cannot take the water as they should.

    —  Three properties at right angles to my home 8 Prospect Place have "cess pits".

    —  Sewage Pumping station needs relocating or protecting to ensure it does not fail again. Sewage still around the area stinking two weeks after this happened.

    —  Knock down all the houses that have been built on the flood plains.

    —  Developer's assurances over flooding history of area that extreme measures had been taken to prevent this were Useless words.

    —  Could water up stream be held back?

    —  On septic tanks would help flooding if we could go on main drain. 151 Rickerscote Road.

    —  According to Flood Line I am in a flood danger area. Interesting information given the fact that over the past seven years building of houses has been taking place on the flood plain adjacent to my street.

    —  Dig out the whole area so the water has somewhere to go.

    —  Flood plains have very fragile eco-systems that need to be protected at all costs both for the environment and local wildlife. Hope an acceptable compromise can be achieved in protecting homes with this in mind.

    —  Waited days for Severn Trent to disinfect the area. Rang giving reference number each day they seemed to have no record of my previous calls, kept being given new reference number.

    —  Agencies need to take a tougher stance on building with the flood plain area.


Results in detail

Doxey (6 people responded)

    —  "Did the flooding affect your home"—6 people answered no. One person had 2" water in their cellar.

    —  "Has your home flooded in the past?"—6 people stated no. One person said yes in October 2000.

    —  "Did damage occur to either their home/garden/property"—6 people said no. One person said contents of cellar damaged.

    —  "What help did you receive?"—2 people said had no help but contacted the council.

    —  "Were your roads affected by flooding"—all 6 mentioned Doxey Road, and Doxey Road at the junction of Castle Tavern and the Sainsbury Car Park.

    —  "Do you feel that the manholes are blocked"—One person said yes that Doxey Road Drains were full of litter. One person said yes but did not specify which. 4 people said No.

    —  "Did you contact any agencies or monitor situation?"—4 people contacted the Flood Warning Line, 2 Stafford Borough Council, 2 Staffordshire County Council, 3 the Environment Agency, 2 Severn Trent, one person did not contact anyone.

    —  "If you answered Yes to the above was the help/information given to you helpful?" Pre recorded flood message was helpful. 3 people said the help was not good, one received call about the flooding after it had happened, 2 people said that there was a shortage of sandbags which they needed.

Haywoods (22 people responded)

    —  "Did the flooding affect your home"—20 people stated No to this question. One said there had been five major floods over the past years. One person said flood water and sewage were up to their gate. No one mentioned their house being flooded.

    —  "Has your home flooded in the past?"—20 people answered no to this. One person said yes whenever there is heavy rain.

    —  "Did damage occur to either their home/garden/property"—20 people said No.

    —  "What help did you receive?"—No one answered this question.

    —  "Were your roads affected by flooding"—5 people said Mill Lane was flooded. One person mentioned Coley Lane, 2 said Bishton Lane and Meadow Lane were flooded. Also the road from Great Haywood to Tixall was flooded.

    —  "Do you feel that the manholes are blocked"—8 people thought drains were blocked. Manhole at the bottom of St Mary's Abbey is always blocked. One drain near the Lock House Restaurant seems blocked. Drains blocked both sides of the Main Road in Little Haywood near Heather Brae. 9 people felt that there was no problem with the drains.

    —  "Did you contact any agencies or monitor situation?"—14 people answered No to this question. One person contacted Severn Trent.

    —  "If you answered Yes to the above was the help/information given to you helpful?"—Severn Trent have been helpful in the past.

Rising Brook—(21 surveys were received completed)

    —  "Did the flooding affect your home"—8 people stated that their homes had been affected, mentioning 2 sewage drains lifted, sewage went over garden. The rest stated that their gardens had flooded. No one mentioned their homes flooding.

    —  "Has your home flooded in the past?"—6 people responded, one mentioned front garden flooded, one said cellar had.

    —  "Did damage occur to either their home/garden/property"—6 people answered. One said their fence had gone over, one said raw sewage had killed lawn and plants, one that their lawn had been damaged.

    —  "What help did you receive?"—6 people completed this section. Severn Trent hosed and disinfected garden, 2 said that they had contacted David Kidney's Office and got help from a member of his staff, One said they had no help, one said they had cleaned up themselves, another mentioned help from Severn Trent.

    —  "Were your roads affected by flooding"—17 responses. 6 people said there road had not been flooded. 2 said Brook Glen Road Flooded. The rest mentioned Silkmore Lane.

    —  "Do you feel that the manholes are blocked"—8 responses received. Rising Brook manholes overflowed. 76 Brook Glen Road, manholes outside neighbours filled up. 42 Brook Glen Road manholes back house seemed to be filled up. 9 people answered No to this question.

    —  "Did you contact any agencies or monitor situation?"—13 People answered No. 2 People said they contacted Severn Trent, (one was told nothing could be done until it stopped raining, one said it was beneficial). Two people said they contacted David Kidney's Office for help.

Sandon Road (100 returned the survey sheets)

    —  "Did the flooding affect your home?"—8 People stated that their gardens had flooded—one mentioned that they had also had sewage in their garden.

    —  15 people responded to the question "Has your home flooded in the past?" Of these 15 people only two actually mentioned water in their home, which was cellar flooding.

    —  13 People said that "Did damage occur to either their home/garden/property?". Water and sewage on garden damaging plants, water stayed on bay window causing a leak, electricity tripped, garden produce lost, dog was ill, had to lay a new lawn were all mentioned in this category.

    —  "What help did you receive?"—10 people answered this question. One had no help, only from neighbours, two mentioned a roofing specialist for their window, one said that Severn Trent had visited but had not received help.

    —  "Were your roads affected by flooding?"—84 people responded of which 2 said their road had not been affected. The others mentioned, Sandon Road, Fairfield Court, junction of Peel Terrace and also junction with Charnley Road.

    —  "Do you feel that the manholes are blocked?"—38 answered Yes to this question. They mentioned drains/manholes at Sandon Road by Shell Garage, Albert Terrace/Corporation Street/Sandon Road junction. Drain outside 27/28 Charnley Road, 142 Sandon Road to Astonfields Road, drains seem blocked. Person at 276 Sandon Road says weeds are growing out of the drain. 11 people responded by saying they did not know if any were blocked.

    —  "Did you contact any agencies or monitor situation?"—10 people said they had made contact either with Severn Trent, Environment Agency, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council or Monitored Flooding through Floodline. 48 people said they had not contacted anyone.

    —  "Was it helpful?"—6 people answered this question. One said the help was a waste of time, one said that the help was very professional and helpful, one said that the information given was helpful, one person said they had checked the "flood warning line".

Silkmore Lane (167 people responded)

    —  "Did the flooding affect your home?"—48 people said there gardens had flooded, some within 6" of their home, others said within metre of doors. One person said that the water was thigh deep over their pathways. 114 stated No to this question.

    —  "Has your home flooded in the past?"—19 people answered this question, some saying that this is the first time flooding in 15 years. Someone said last time was 7 years ago. Garage has flooded before 4-5 times. Garden has flooded in the past but not as severely. If it rains heavy garden floods.

    —  "Did damage occur to either their home/garden/property?"—42 people said some damage had occurred. One person had car damaged. 2 People said Garden Shed had been damaged. One said septic tank had been damaged. One conservatory was under water. Garage and downstairs toilet/floor damaged. Branches fell of tree. Ground gave way. Trees fell over due to soft soil. Garden tools, garden plants, lawns damaged.

    —  "What help did you receive?"—34 people answered this question. 10 people said they either had received no help or did not require any. 18 received sandbags from either SCC or SBC. Comments made that SBC were late delivering them. Severn Trent gain help to one home week after the floods. 2 people received help from family/friends/neighbours. 2 people said had help from automated flood warning line.

    —  "Were your roads affected by flooding?"—158 answered this question. 130 stated Silkmore Lane was badly flooded. 12 People said Meadow Way was flooded. Others mentioned flooding in Pioneer Way, Brook Glen Road and various combinations of these with Silkmore Lane. Also Rickerscote Hall Lane.

    —  "Do you feel that the manholes are blocked?"—71 people responded of which 2 said they did not know if the drains were blocked. Other mentioned 59 Silkmore Lane drain on back track? Drains blocked at the back of 73 Silkmore Lane, drains at 34 Meadow Road seem blocked. Drains along Silkmore Lane seem to be blocked. The first drain inside Meadow Road seems blocked. Sewage coming from drains at bottom of Radford Bank. 61 Silkmore Crescent, manholes at back of property seem to be a problem. Manhole near 18 Pioneer Way was overflowing. Drains at Rickerscote and junction of Pioneer Way look blocked. Poor drainage at Milford fields. Drains opposite Prospect Place and those at the junction of Exeter Street don't seem to function correctly. Drains in the service road at the back of Silkmore Crecent seem to be a problem. One person said the drains in Exeter Street seem permanently blocked. Meadow Way appears to have overloaded drains and manholes.

    —  "Did you contact any agencies or monitor situation?"—37 people contacted various agencies. One person said it was a few days before anyone came. 19 people contacted the automated flood warning line. 12 contacted the Environment Agency, 23 people contacted Stafford Borough Council, 25 people contacted Staffordshire County Council, 11 people contacted Severn Trent. 100 people said that they had not contacted anyone about the flooding.

    —  "If you answered Yes to the above was the help/information given to you helpful?"—20 people responded. One said they were not informed as to when the flooding would peak. Excellent under the circumstances. Staffordshire County Council were helpful, Stafford Borough Council less so. Flood Warning Line was useful. Stafford Borough Council gave inadequate service, flood warning line was useless information. Telephone number given, next day leaves cleaned up. Few days before anyone came.

David Kidney MP

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