Neighbours in Woodingdean are calling for action as their homes are flooding regularly from road surface water.

The Ridgeway resident Ian Leak told Brighton and Hove City Council how flash-flooding has occurred for 20 years but has increased “dramatically”.

In the past 14 months, households have experienced ten floods in 14 months causing misery and stress, with 18 to 24 inches rushing into Mr Leak’s home in a matter of minutes.

At the full council meeting on Thursday 1 February, Mr Leak said neighbours have formed a support group messaging each other for help and support.

Their homes have been damaged with sediments on the floors of their homes and sometimes sewage spilling into properties.

Ian Leak Addresses Councillors On Flooding In Woodingdean

Ian Leak Addresses Councillors On Flooding In Woodingdean

Mr Leak said: “These are flash floods, almost biblical as it feels at the time. We have essentially become our own emergency service.

“We try to deal with the flooding as it’s happening. We have no notice, any time of day, any time of night.

“It’s very stressful without that notice. They’re unpredictable events.”

They have supported surface flood water to the Highways Agency and sewage leaks to Southern Water but neither has the budget to carry out significant work.

He said: “This can’t continue, we desperately need more road surface water infrastructure to capture this heavy and consistent rainwater.

“The drains are currently too easily overwhelmed.”

Mr Leak asked what the council would do to address and resolve the problem.

Tim Rowkins Hanover And Elm Grove Labour 2023

Tim Rowkins Hanover And Elm Grove Labour 2023

Labour councillor Tim Rowkins, who chairs the council’s city environment South Downs and the sea committee, said that the situation sounded distressing for Mr Leak and his neighbours.


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Councillor Rowkins said: “Barely a council meeting goes by either in my committee or in full council when flooding and flood risk management doesn’t come up.

“What you’ve shown is the importance of residents bringing this to our attention.”

He said that the council highways team had worked with Southern Water to investigate the drains in The Ridgeway and found it was damaged and had “physical obstructions” which had been repaired.

Councillor Rowkins said that if the issues continued then these repairs would have proved ineffective.

The sewers are Southern Water’s responsibility but the surface water management is the council’s responsibility.

He said: “These problems are happening in other parts of the city as well and we need to work better with Southern Water.

“They’re keen to reduce surface water overloading the system, because that’s one of the things that contributes to sewage outflows into the sea, which at least from a reputation management point of view, they are very keen to avoid and reduce.”

Councillor Rowkins offered to visit the area with officials and Councillor Trevor Muten, who chairs the council’s Transport and Sustainability Committee and is a hydrogeologist in his professional life.