Feb 12, 2020

In the evening of 9th February, Storm Ciara visited Capel with devastating effect. Streams and irrigation channels burst banks, and drainage systems could not cope, flooding homes, businesses and roads. Power cuts added to the disruption.


Five Oak Green Village

This significant local event follows the wide-scale flooding in December. However, this time it is very different. The flooding was severe in the localised area of Five Oak Green. One resident described how “the water swept through homes like a river in an extraordinary way”.

A fire brigade officer at the scene told Save Capel it is likely that a local reservoir failed and sent down a torrent of water causing the flash flooding. South East Water has since denied there was a problem at Pembury reservoir but we remain unconvinced that it was just field run-off and there are rumours of a controlled release of water into Alder stream to avoid a breach. We will of course update this page as details are confirmed.

Alders road and the Dovecote pub

In Five Oak Green, several homes were evacuated and residents spent the night pumping out water, with others taking refuge upstairs. Even residents of recently built houses, raised with flood mitigation, have been affected.

Communities are extremely concerned that the proposed development of 4,000+ new houses in Capel will only make things worse.

TWBC’s Draft Local Plan includes the construction of two additional reservoirs to protect 1500 new houses in East Capel. However, the exclusion of raised levels in the build design, and the necessary SuDS initiatives, demonstrates that planners have not addressed the flood risk on this floodplain and the effects of any breach of the reservoirs.

These proposals do not include measures to reduce the flood risk for existing communities in and around Five Oak Green. The Alder Stream flood mitigation project proposed by the Environment Agency has now been deferred.


In Tudeley, the proposed “garden village” of 2800 homes in the Local Plan does not include any assessment of the increased flood risk to existing communities. The surface water flows from Storm Ciara cascaded through the heart of this 375 acre site, flowing down Sherenden Road under the railway bridge. This caused subsidence to gardens and the road surface, with KCC Highways attending to assess the substructure:

Save Capel has written to the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP and Councillor Carol Mackonochie as our elected representatives, to ask how they will be working to ensure any development in the area does not add to the misery suffered by local residents.

A copy of the letter can be found here

Most importantly, we want to know when TWBC is going to face up to its responsibilities, to its own residents and those in neighbouring boroughs, and rework a local plan that avoids adding to the dangers of building on or adjacent to a flood plain?”

Save Capel on Twitter

#GardenVillageVisions Would you be prepared to look at the proposals for Capel when the Masterplan is published next year, and give us your assessment?

#GardenVillageVisions Where transport infrastructure in existing new garden villages has not been put in place despite promises, is there documentation showing why the plans were not deliverable? This would be useful to show where a new development is not workable.

#GardenVillageVisions Your findings around what is proposed not being realised is concerning. How do we ensure the deliverability of the proposals? And how do we hold the developers to account?

#GardenVillageVisions Are there resources showing costs for roads, cycle paths, bus services etc. for recently built developments? Our local borough is promising excellent infrastructure for the proposed stand-alone 2600 home development but we are concerned it is not viable.

. @TfNHomes
We also have one of the highest car ownership/usage already in Kent & well above the national average with no credible mitigation proposed. Section 10 of your report sounded very familiar and we have some questions. #GardenVillageVisions 2 of 2

. @TfNHomes Hi, we are in Capel Parish, Tunbridge Wells Borough, facing 4300+ homes in a rural community that would create urban merger across the entire parish. This includes a new garden village and the doubling of a small town on GV principles. #GardenVillageVisions 1 of 2