West Park kept free of flooding

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Determined efforts by a local radio producer, a councillor and volunteers have resolved a flooding problem in Uckfield

Mike Skinner, boss of UckfieldFM who lives in West Park was almost flooded out on Valentine’s day two years ago when a blocked culvert overflowed. Although he contacted various local authorities, it was felt they were playing pass the parcel with the problem.

After heavy rain on January 11 this year the junction of Batchelor Way and Markland Way flooded again when the underground, 300 metre culvert overflowed. Although this had happened before Mike pointed out it was the first time estate roads were affected.

At the Town Council’s Leisure and Environment committee meeting on Monday he lobbied members about the problem but was once again frustrated that the Town Council had backed down on an agreement with Wealden District Council (WDC) to place a grille so debris could not leave the nature reserve. He went on: “Once this happens it is bound to end up at the same place on Wealden’s chunk of land. It is a nonsence that so many organisations are involved in this. All we want is for it to be looked after.”

But he now praises the efforts of Cllr Claire Dowling. He told the Express: “With her Wealden hat on, it’s largely thanks to her that the problem could be resolved. WDC have been asked to remove mesh at the culvert opening which gets blocked with leaves. Once this is cleared water runs freely.”

The Town Council and WDC agreed to monitor the state of the ditches and culvert openings to make sure they are maintained and kept clear. With the help of both Town and Wealden council ground staff, local volunteers and Sam Imber from 4×4 Sussex, the situation was resolved after thousands of litres of flood water was pumped into road drains. Mike said support of Uckfield Mayor Cllr Louise Eastwood and Cllr James Anderson was greatly appreciated.

He went on: “When rain threatened in January I started clearing the culvert - a bit at a time. I pulled out loads of rubbish which was initially washed straight back in. Thankfully pumps were brought into action and the water can now flow freely. It’s a problem in that WDC, East Sussex County and Uckfield Town councils are all responsible for different lengths of the culvert and I hope systems are now in place which will protect the estate in future.”

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