Work to stop floods in Kenley and Purley scrapped by council

Parts of Kenley, Purley and Whyteleafe were affected by flooding for months in 2014

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.

Helen Redfern: ‘devastating’

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”.

Read more: Council forced to declare itself bankrupt
Read more: Council ignored five warnings on reserves
Read more: ‘An accountant could have foreseen this more than a year ago’
Read more: Officials to investigate possible wrong-doing at council


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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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5 Responses to Work to stop floods in Kenley and Purley scrapped by council

  1. dave Scott says:

    Back in 2014 Croydon & Surrey CC asked for £1m to build resevoirs to stop the flooding. Meanwhile money has been given to the council, but frittered elsewhere – £440k to payoff Negrini for example.

  2. This is a long-standing problem in this part of Croydon and Government provided funds to address it – these have now been spent elsewhere in the council??

    Please can Croydon Council confirm who, within their organisation, decided it was better to spend this money propping up up BrickxBrick on fictional housing rather than spend it on measures that prevent real houses being flood-damaged every year?

    I think it’s a matter of local importance that the cabinet person who ok’d this is named and measures put in place to ensure they are not allowed to repeat such stupid mistakes again. Was it the Head of Place who sanctioned this?

  3. Maverick says:

    If the Council applied for funding from an external body for a particular scheme, in this case “ Flood Protection “ and the funding was not used for the particular scheme then this can only be described as fraud. The funding body would ask for proof that the money was used on the project that the bid was submitted for. To say that the funding was not “ring fenced” is a smoke screen. The Director ( Public Realm ) who is responsible for this should be held accountable.

  4. I was heavily involved in the Councils response to the 2000/2001 rising of the Caterham Bourne and associated flooding. Inside Croydon published an article in March 2014 regarding action/inaction regarding management of the catchment following the severe flooding in 2012. On average there are flooding incidents along the Caterham Bourne valley about every seven years, so one might predict that another is due. To have diverted grant monies either legally or illegally to other uses, rather than undertake the promised works, is reprehensible.

  5. Marie Jones says:

    More incompetence! How on earth was this allowed to happen? This is a problem every time there is a prolonged spell of rain. Its going to be a long, damp winter in Croydon this year!

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