Flooding nightmare continues for Heathfield residents

2nd September

The residents of Wren Close, Heathfield, are now living with the buzz of dehumidifiers five weeks on from their homes being devastated on 25th July.

Bliss Ells’ garden today

Meanwhile an investigation into the cause of flooding in Heathfield following the heavy rain has been launched.

As part of its duty under the Flood and Water Management Act, East Sussex County Council has commissioned Ardent Consulting Engineers to look into what happened and whether any measures can be taken to avoid a similar incident happening again. The investigation will build on the initial evidence gathered by the county council’s Flood Risk Management Team, Wealden District Council, East Sussex Highways and Southern Water, and consultants will also speak to residents about their experience. An initial report is expected to be completed before the end of September and will be published on the county council’s website. More detailed work may be commissioned by the county council, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Wren Close resident Bliss Ells said she and her neighbours are looking forward to working with ESCC to find a resolution to prevent anything like this happening again. “Many residences are still having to look at their belongings that were destroyed in their gardens while we wait to see what damage has actually been done to our properties. Our house alone was filled with five feet of water, not including the two foot void under the floor. There were other houses which had even more water than us. We couldn’t believe our eyes when our shed floated over a 6ft fence into next door’s garden.

“Our road wasn’t even considered a flood risk before. We had raised the issue of the blocked culvert on 19th July 2021- six days before the big flood – but nothing was done so it was only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen. We need the owner of the culvert to be found so it is maintained properly and we can all sleep easy and not be in fear of the next downpour. The drainage systems need to be maintained properly and in some cases upgraded as when it rains Wren Close gets a lot of the surface water heading straight to our road. The culvert and stream need to be adopted by ESCC, Highways or whichever department, as they now send so much surface water down to it from higher levels of Heathfield. The residents are working together and we know brighter days are coming.”

Another Wren Close resident Mick Cousens is also still trying to dry his house out after the flood. He said there is water still inside back door, his fire place and had to be removed along with floorboards, the gas fire and the staircase.

He explained: “We have had the fans and dehumidifier now installed for a week trying to dry out the lounge. The decking outside has not been removed and is now very dangerous due to being lifted up appropriately seven feet from the ground and six inches away from wall when water receeded.

“We have to say that the council are dragging their heels. Behind my house there is a bank with loads of rubbish waiting to block the culvert if it rains again.”

Moving out of his home is not an option for Mick as he has two elderly pets, a dog who is 14 years old and a cat of 15, and says that kennels would not be good for them.