After Purley Pond, emergency services now create Lake Roke

The Purley Pond was not enough.

Flood water begins to lap around the flats and garages on Dale Road, a residential street off the Godstone Road

Flood water begins to lap around the flats and garages on Dale Road, a residential street off the Godstone Road

Despite emergency services having pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of floodwater up from flood-threatened areas of Kenley and into the pedestrian underpass at Purley Cross since the weekend, even more “overflow capacity” has been needed  to try to avoid hundreds of homes, downhill from the Godstone Road, succumbing to the Caterham Bourne in full spate, and to try to keep the local water treatment works open and operating.

Overnight, the emergency services took the  “difficult but necessary” decision to create new overflow “ponds” in the playing field of Roke Primary and in the car park of a nearby church, through building walls of sandbags around the perimeters into which the water can be pumped.

This has come too late, though, to avoid flats and garages on Dale Road, at the Purley end of the A22, experiencing flooding yesterday evening. Residents who contacted Inside Croydon said that they could not get any assistance from the council at that point, although emergency services were on the scene this morning.

Others suggested that the flooding in Dale Road was as a result of the emergency services trying to pump some excess flood water back into the bourne, which then overflowed further down its course. There were also reports that some local builders merchants had raised their prices of sand in the last couple of days in an attempt to profit from home owners seeking to prepare their own flood defences.

The overwhelming problem for the Gold Command – the emergency committee of council officers, fire brigade, Transport for London, police and Thames Water officials as well as other agencies – is the continuing volume of water coming down the Caterham Bourne. Nor is there any respite offered in the weather forecast for the next few days, either.

Pupils have been off school at Roke Primary (the recently re-named Harris Primary Academy Kenley, not to be confused with the existing Kenley Primary) since Friday afternoon, when the staff were instructed to evacuate the children as a precautionary measure, while there were some reports that groundwater had begun to seep up through the floor of the school.

The line, three bags high, lining the playing field at Roke Primary, one of two new "ponds" the emergency services have created for floodwater in Kenley

The line, three bags high, lining the playing field at Roke Primary, one of two new “ponds” the emergency services have created for flood water in Kenley

With Godstone Road having been blocked for almost a week, access to the school – with most parents usually driving their children to the gates – was becoming increasingly problematic.

Before Lake Roke started to form today, last week water had been pumped on to the neighbouring sports ground. But this is now saturated.

Parents of pupils are understandably concerned at whether their school’s playing fields may be contaminated by the flood water – especially if some of it has been diverted from the treatment works.

But as an appeal went out for high energy snacks and drinks to be handed out to the emergency workers, most locals were supportive of the efforts being taken to minimise the impact of the wettest winter since records began. “I’d like to think the engineers know what they’re doing,” said one resident. “They seem to have done a cracking job so far (hence Pickles and Boris wanting their photos taken there, rather than in places which have been overwhelmed).”

Another said, “I think the ‘workers’ have been doing an amazing job and I live within the barricaded area of Godstone Road. Yes there’s been huge disruption but they seem to be doing the best they can primarily to protect our fresh water supply and houses.”

The council explained the position by saying, “The creation of two further ‘balancing’ ponds will help to further manage rising water levels and ease the pressure on the water system.

“Work was taking place through the night to install flood barriers in preparation to divert thousands of litres of water away from around 400 vulnerable homes and businesses.”

The council is now advising all motorists to avoid the Kenley and Whyteleafe areas due to localised flooding of side roads off Godstone Road.

  • To report rising groundwater levels or flooding, residents are asked to call the Environment Agency Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60. You can also sign up to the free groundwater Flood Alert/Warning service by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to After Purley Pond, emergency services now create Lake Roke

  1. A few facts you haven’t added or don’t know about- Harris Primary Academy Kenley is indeed shut but KS2 is being taught elsewhere.Years 3-5 and their teachers are being taught at a local primary ( my daughters one) and the high school.Year 6 are being taught at Harris Purley ( formerly known as Haling Manor).
    Nursery,Reception.Year 1 and 2 are off at home but all their work has been out on the school website.
    The local schools have the space and accommodated the pupils very smoothly and at little notice,Hopfully pupils from Harris Primary Academy Kenly can get back to their school when it is safe and access easier.

    • We know about the arrangements. We also have the head teacher’s rather confusing text messages.

      But you may not have noticed, this is a news article about flooding, so fascinating as the school arrangements may well be for you, it is of little relevance here.

  2. derekthrower says:

    Surely this is Lake Harris Primary Academy not Roke !!!

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