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?”