Croydon’s bankrupt council has cancelled vital flood-prevention measures in the south of the borough because it has already spent the money it was given for the works.
That’s according to the Town Hall opposition Tories, who say that funding had been provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, but the council failed to ring-fence the cash and so it was subsumed into the general fund.
According to local Conservatives, schemes intended to alleviate the kind of floods which hit Purley and Kenley so badly in 2014 are among the first casualties of cost-cutting being undertaken since the council issued its Section 114 notice to declare that it has gone broke.
“A number of projects designed to protect our communities and residents from the damaging effects of flooding were due to start in the coming weeks, but as a direct result of Labour’s financial incompetence these will no longer proceed,” according to a statement issued by Croydon Conservatives.
According to local historians and the Bourne Society, major flooding incidents around Whyteleafe, Kenley and Purley are man-made, caused by Thames Water’s efforts to channel surface water from the roads into one open culvert.
As recently as February this year, the Environment Agency issued a flood warning for an area as far south as Coulsdon, all the way north to South Croydon.
Croydon Tories say that, “One project in Riddlesdown was just weeks away from commencing. This would have greatly reduced the flooding that occurs on Mitchley Avenue and Lower Barn Road and which, at its worst, effectively cuts Riddlesdown in half, severely impacting the lives of thousands of local people.”
Helen Redfern, the Tories’ shadow cabinet member for the environment, said, “Residents, councillors and council staff have worked hard to fight for these much-needed flood protection projects, so it is devastating that these cannot proceed.
“Refusing to fund these programmes is short-sighted, will increase long-term costs and – most importantly – will impact the lives of so many in Croydon.” Redfern said, adding that “continued flooding and disruption will now be inevitable over the winter”.
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