Two floods in a fortnight: Merton Council in denial?

Plough Lane flooding June 23 2016 Plough Lane flooding June 23 2016Torrential rain, the ground is sodden, so the Plough Lane area with its high watertable floods again causing traffic chaos from South Wimbledon to Wandsworth and beyond.

Late last year, the Environment Agency downgraded the site’s  flood risk from tidal and fluvial (ie river) sources. But river flooding is not the major problem here: surface and groundwater are more of an issue. And guess whose job it is to lead on flooding of this kind? Merton Council.

Which might explain their lack of forensic examination on flooding issues when they blithely waved through the AFC Wimbledon/Galliards development plans for Plough Lane at a meeting in December. Bring the Dons home, whatever the cost, remember? They decide it’s OK so it is OK. Until it rains and rains and rains.

The nearby Wandle meadows floodplain is currently under a few feet of water: that’s what it’s there for. Good. Ditto the current Plough Lane stadium site: it’s a vast open expanse that can happily flood causing little impact other than to those who habitually park there.

Build over and under it, as Galliard Homes wants to – dense blocks of 602 apartments with little in the way of open space, plus underground car parks that push soak-away capacity into surrounding land – and you end up with fewer places for excess water to go.

Challenging times ahead therefore for local residents, who have experienced flood waters lapping at their steps over the past couple of weeks, and flooded basements (eg in Havelock Road. For non-locals, that’s just off Plough Lane).

Meanwhile, Merton Council issues a list of areas to avoid due to rain-induced flooding, and despite enormous traffic jams tailing back in every direction – Plough Lane doesn’t even get a mention. Scared to highlight the fact that the road is suffering flooding because that doesn’t fit ‘the story’, perhaps, and to hell with keeping road users (and residents) informed?