Showdown meeting on dam danger concerns

CONCERN Flood water in the Warren Park dam
CONCERN Flood water in the Warren Park dam
23/11/2016 (DR)

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A CRUNCH meeting is to be held over fears about the safety of a dam designed to stop Leigh Park from flooding.

Local councillors have arranged a meeting with the environment agency over concerns about the £2m Warren Park dam.

The new dam replaced the old Giant Steps which were more than 40 years old and needed to be replaced. The dam has steep banks and a stream was created through the middle with a footbridge going across. Money was also invested in landscaping the area and a new playpark.

Havant Borough councillors Mark Johnson and Mike Sceal have spent months trying to get the Environment Agency to answer questions over the level of flooding in the area, which they say is dangerous.

Cllr Johnson said: ‘We have great concerns about the volume of water in there.

‘I got involved last year when I was elected and I went to a residents’ association meeting and they (the Environment Agency) described what it was supposed to do. They explained that flooding of this level would be a one-in-80 year event. Well, it’s been flooded four times. It’s 15 to 20-feet deep in some places. There is a walkway with railings which are five to six-feet above your head and they actually disappear.

‘That’s two feet away from the dam’s edge. Yes, there are signs which say there is a potential for flooding but they don’t adequately describe what could happen.

‘Something needs to be done to make sure that people are safe.’

The borough councillors and Hampshire County Councillors Ann Buckley and Liz Fairhurst are holding a meeting at the borough council tomorrow.

They would like to hear from residents who have concerns about the dam.

Cllr Johnson added: ‘I want to go in armed with as much information from residents as possible.

‘It’s taken a long time for us to get to this point and actually get a face-to-face meeting with the Environment Agency so we need to make the most of it.’

The Environment Agency told The News the level of flooding over the past few months had been more than expected and that water drains away slowly so that manhole covers across Leigh Park do not blow with the pressure.

Those with concerns about the dam can contact Cllr Johnson on 07749 790 694.