Flooding scheme aims to prevent potential disaster

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FLOODING won’t affect a huge new estate being built a few miles south of flood-stricken Hambledon, developers claim.

With January being the wettest since records began, the developer of Berewood is making sure the drainage system is first-class to protect future generations from flooding.

Rather than using pipes and culverts to divert surface water, Grainger Plc is installing sustainable urban drainage systems (suds).

John Beresford, development director for the 2,550-home development, explained: ‘Traditionally, we use man-made drainage systems consisting of pipes and culverts to divert surface water to local watercourses.

‘With light rain or inconsistent rain, this system works fine. However, when, like we have seen in recent months, there is constant or heavy rain these fill to capacity very quickly and sewers back up and overflow, leading to extensive flooding.

‘In our community at Berewood, we have incorporated “sustainable drainage systems”, where we have used swales, landscaped basins, wetlands and ponds to collect, reduce and control the flow of water – therefore mimicking the natural process of water absorption and dispersion by storing surface water, decreasing flow rates to waterways.’

Mr Beresford said the ponds and swales will attract wildlife.

The developers are also aiming to restore the River Wallington, which runs near the development.

Mr Beresford said: ‘We hope to return what is now a concrete channel to its former glory.’

He added: ‘By master planning and installing necessary infrastructure at the very beginning, we have future-proofed our community at Berewood, making it more resilient to the horrid weather we have seen recently. The result is that in spite of the worst rainfall for 150 years the land at Berewood has never looked drier.’

The flood scheme was welcomed by council leaders.

Councillor David Guest, in charge of planning and development in Havant borough, said: ‘Suds is the way forward.

‘We are pleased it is being installed there.

‘It will protect from flooding and give better dispersal rate of surface water into the subsoil rather than it running off into ditches, streams and rivers.’