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Flood defences in Purley not built this month ‘due to current flood situation’ say EA

Reporter: Ellis Barker Newbury News Reporter

Contact: 01635 886639

FloodsFLOOD alleviation works in Purley have been postponed…due to flooding.

Purley, which is situated along the River Thames, was one of the worst affected villages by flooding last week, following weeks of heavy downpours which saw more than 200mm of rain fall.

The chairman of Purley Parish Council, Rick Jones, said that while only around 12 properties had actually been flooded, the number of properties which were completely surrounded by water was between 100 to 150 and others had had garages, outbuildings and utility rooms flooded.

The worst affected areas were in Wintringham Way, River Gardens, Chestnut Grove, Colyton Way and Mapledurham Drive.

Mr Jones said last week that residents were angry that the Environment Agency (EA) had not built a 100m barrier on the river bank as had been proposed.

The Environment Agency told the Newbury Weekly News that work was scheduled to begin this month but had to be postponed due to the weather.

An EA spokeswoman, Elisa Orchard, said on Friday: “The contractor due to start work on raising an embankment to protect properties and infrastructure in the town was ready to start the project this month.

“Due to the current flood situation, there will have to be an unavoidable delay until the flooding subsides.

“Our high volume pumps are deployed on site in Purley-on-Thames and are in continued use.

“We continue to work alongside West Berkshire Council to support the community, working with the flood wardens and ensuring the pumping systems are working to reduce flood risk.”

However, earlier this afternoon, Mr Jones said that neither residents nor the parish council had been aware that work was due to start until after the flooding.

“If they had consulted us we would have said they are wasting their time to plan it for this month because they would never be able to build it,” he said. “We don’t have flooding every year but the water flow is high at this time of year.”

He added that a meeting had been held with the parish council, Reading west MP Alok Sharma and the Environment Agency and plans had been made to build further flood defences as soon as possible.

A red flood warning is still in place for the village, however the floodwater is beginning to subside as the water level in the River Thames drops.

Last week, preparations were being made at the village community centre – The Barn – to provide emergency overnight and daytime accommodation, however Mr Jones said no-one had to make use of the facility over the weekend.

“It’s the time to thank everyone who has helped,” he added. “People on the ground, the villagers themselves, the flood warden…the people from West Berkshire [Council], our neighbourhood wardens, they have been superb.

“They have all worked very, very hard.”

Don't forget to read the Newbury Weekly News — Berkshire's largest–selling local newspaper — out each Thursday morning.


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