Fringe Box



Another Downpour, Another Flooding, Another Layer of Sludge

Published on: 24 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 28 Jun, 2012

Post downpour sludge in Chestnut Avenue

from Don Johnston

Another downpour, yet another flooding, yet again another layer of filthy sludge along our gutters and in our front paths and gardens, front and back a regular pestilence for we residents of the Guildford end of the St Catherine’s ‘conservation-area’ Victorian terrace, and unwary pedestrians.

This evil mess also covers the small carpark on Chestnut Avenue, the alley at the backs of our houses and our back gardens.

Why? Portsmouth Road’s drains are blocked as usual, because Guildford Borough Council refuses to clean Sandy Lane or Chestnut Avenue, so all that detritus is washed down to our corner, which GBC has the gall to boast of in a town tourist brochure. The problem is even worse in the autumn, with the leaf fall, when our carpark, back alley and back gardens can be 18 inches deep in sludge. Over the years, the tidemarks on the brickwork have suppurated into strange verdigris.

Portsmouth Road regularly floods in our corner, extending over to the pedestrian crossing and round into Chestnut, even to cover the entrance to the College of Law admin carpark. The traffic on Portsmouth, often 18-wheel artics, seldom slackens speed, so the filthy water hits the front of our houses. Cars turning into Chestnut help spread the filth.

What will our caring Council do about this persistent, unpleasant threat to pedestrian and resident health and wellbeing? Nothing. Are they aware of the problem? They could hardly be unaware. Will they reduce our council tax to help compensate? Seen any flying pigs lately? 

In the 25-plus years I have been here, I used to help my neighbour, Frank West, keep the drains open, and clear away silt. Alas, Frank has long gone, and I am slightly disabled after a stroke, no longer nimble enough to dodge the vehicles that hurtle past, sometimes through the gutter sludge, occasionally on our pavement, en route to Guildford.

I have asked many times for storm drains to be installed at the bottom of Sandy Lane and in Chestnut, and met Surrey County Council engineers to try to find solutions. One storm was installed across the road, where it never floods. Typical.

I believe the village association should make such drains a priority, and we should petition the Council and, if necessary, bombard them with photographs to initiate action. 

Another neighbour, John Schluter, has kindly taken photos of some of the ugly bits.

Share This Post