Fringe Box



Borough Council To Review Flood Management Arrangements

Published on: 8 Jan, 2014
Updated on: 10 Jan, 2014
More like Venice than Guildford...

The Christmas Eve flood.

The Executive of Guildford Borough Council agreed this evening (January 7) that a review of the flood management arrangements in the light of recent flooding in Guildford town and elsewhere in the borough.

The purpose of the review will be to ensure that the council and partner agencies are, “better prepared and informed in the future.” It was acknowledged that flooding is still occurring and the review will only take place, “once the emergency situation has passed.”

According to the report, put before the Executive, the review will be considered by councillors once the council officers have reported. It is the intention of some town centre councillors to suggest, at the Corporate Improvement Scrutiny Committee on Thursday [January 9], that they scrutinise the review.

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) asked for confirmation that any review would be held in public and that all the things that the council did well would be exposed as well as those where lessons need to be learned.

Cllr Richard Billington (Con, Tillingbourne), lead councillor for community safety and health, said: “So many of our officers and staff who worked very hard, giving up their Christmas and their holidays to deal with the consequences of this flooding and I would really like to place on the record the council’s gratitude. I am also impressed with the attitude of a lot of people, across the borough.

“Yes people are worried about their homes and their businesses but I have spoken to people in the town … one guy said to me, ‘Well it’s an Act of God.’ The resilience of the people has been impressive.”

In addition, to the actions carried out by council staff previously reported, it was stated that the council had distributed sandbags to 21 “strategic locations” across the borough on Christmas Eve. The bags were filled by staff who worked until 10pm, having already completed their day’s work.

Cllr James Palmer (Con, Shalford) echoed the thanks to council staff but added: “As part of a deeper review of this I think we need to have conversations with our colleagues at the Environment Agency, because it did appear to us that we were giving them the flood warning rather than the other way round. I know this was a massive flood event across the South of England but I think questions need to be asked.”

Cllr Sarah Creedy (Con, Holy Trinity), speaking as the lead member for housing and social welfare, said: ‘The officers in the housing team were on the phone and visiting, in person, on days that were, for everyone else, holidays.

“I think it would be helpful if residents in Guildford could understand the wider picture taken by Surrey County Council, the police and the Environment Agency because the results of many meetings, in which we did not take part, impacted on us greatly and if we could understand the process those authorities go through, to exercise such control as we do have over the flood waters, I think that would be helpful to the public.”

Cllr Manning (Con, Ash Vale) said that he hoped the review would cover the whole borough and not just the town. He knew of residents that had been flooded out three times in ten years.

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