The Floding Debate

Environment Will Ease The Way For Planning

“Rye’s Own” has learned that the Environment Agency is prepared to lift objections they had regarding flood worries over the building of 135 dwellings to the north of Udimore Road if suitable conditions can be imposed on any planning permission granted in relation to the site.

We can reveal that these conditions will include installing water delaying valves, known as Hydrobrakes, in the drainage system, two water basins, (lakes or tanks), along with ‘swales’ (earth banks) that will hold the water back.

The plan is packed with figures but the worrying words ‘approximately’, ‘likely to’, ‘appears to be’ etc. are evident throughout.

There is no mention of the fact that the delay could be at the wrong time, i.e. when the lock gates are open, and that the delayed water might reach the river when it is tide locked and flood water from the valley is arriving in large volume.

It talks about having the capacity to cope with two storms in succession but makes no reference to three previous occasions in the past fifty years when there were four days of continuous heavy rainfall, each time flooding Cooper road, Mason Road and Marley Road almost to the height of the small garden walls.

Councillor John Breeds calculated that the run off from the site could be as much as 10 times the flow than the present natural soakaway allows.

The irony is that the developers will be justified in claiming this system would improve the flooding situation in Cooper Road for ‘normal’ rainfall but if the drainage system reached its capacity and the rain still fell, ‘flash flooding’ on a scale not seen before could quickly exceed previous levels, reaching parts of the estate not touched before.

It seems that the ground is being prepared for an immediate granting of the plans being put forward by Hydrobrake Aroncorp Developments should the greenfield site be released from reserve by a full meeting of Rother District Council on Monday 3 March.

The advice from the seven man Cabinet is that it should be released and as their guidance is rarely voted against, it seems that the only hope of the plan not going ahead lies in the hands of the other 31 District Councillors.

The efforts of Rye Councillor Granville Bantick to get as many residents as possible to write to every District Councillor and of Rye Town Council to persuade as many Rye people as possible to attend the meeting in silent witness may just tip the balance but it is a long shot.

If the land is released it is possible that plans will be passed and building commenced before the summer.

Words of Robert Martindale, Head of Environmental Affairs (Rye Area)

“With regard to the tide lock situation on the Tillingham I personally would welcome a total embargo on all new development in the Rye area which introduces additional water into the Tillingham until a pump has been provided to enable a pumped discharge into Strand Quay at all states of the tide.”

Well said Mr. Martindale but how big would this pump need to be? And what happens when there is a ‘critical’ water level in the Tillingham and a freak tide causes the Winchelsea Road Sluice to ‘waterfall’ for an hour as it has done on at least three occasions since 1950. Where would you pump the water then?


“Rye’s Own”  March  2008

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