Villagers rally round to reduce flood risk

From left, Andy Lee from Rowlands Castle Parish Council, Steve Protheroe from Rowlands Castle Flood Action Group, contractor Colin Kinch, Mark Taylor, Matt Yates and Nathan Jeffrey from Southern Electric Power Distribution and Michael Prior from Stansted Park
From left, Andy Lee from Rowlands Castle Parish Council, Steve Protheroe from Rowlands Castle Flood Action Group, contractor Colin Kinch, Mark Taylor, Matt Yates and Nathan Jeffrey from Southern Electric Power Distribution and Michael Prior from Stansted Park
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FLOOD risk has been reduced in a village thanks to a £10,000 grant to clear a water course.

A culvert running through Stansted Forest, at Rowlands Castle, had not been cleared for some 40 years.

Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD), a national firm which has a huge office in Havant, provided £9,000 to help clear the tunnel, along with an additional £1,000 from the Stansted Park Trust.

The work is another step forward for the Rowlands Castle Flood Action Group, which has managed to prevent any major flooding in the village during the last few winters which saw the area bombarded with heavy rainfall.

Steve Protheroe, chairman of the group, said: ‘Michael Prior, head forester at Stansted, advised that his long-term staff had told him that the culvert that allows the ground waters to flow through their land had not been cleared of silt, mud, bricks and other rubbish in the last 40 years.

‘The clearance of this is long overdue and the benefit to the community will be seen in less flooding on the corner of Finchdean Road at the entrance to the Sling.

‘Some additional work is to be carried out by the contractor to alter the junction of the point where water flows from Finchdean Road in to the main Lavant flow, thus allowing the clearance of that water more quickly.

‘In the past the bow waves caused by fast moving traffic – despite Hampshire County Council yellow signs asking the drivers slow down – has caused damage to the gardens of the properties in the immediate vicinity and also to the flint wall owned by Stansted.’

The Finchdean and Rowlands Castle areas are historically vulnerable to flooding.

In January 2014, roads became rivers in Finchdean and portaloos had to be brought in when the lavants – winter streams – rose into the sewage system.

SEPD is making £1m-worth of grants available in four rounds. The deadline for the second round of grant applications is today.

Stuart Hogarth, director of distribution, said: ‘From my own experiences during storms and extreme weather, I know just how serious an issue flooding can be, and so I am delighted Rowlands Castle has been successful with its application.’