Community begins to sign up for free flood prevention


Forty people in the small community of residents and businesses in the historic old town of Chesham have signed up to have their properties protected from flash flooding.

It's all free, thanks to a £3.45 million Buckinghamshire County Council flood management scheme, announced earlier this year, to protect around 100 properties at Pednormead End when nearby River Chess overflows.

And through two local public drop-in events visitors last week (4 and 10 September), Bill Chapple OBE, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, has been urging all residents and businesses to take advantage of the scheme.

"Every one of these properties gets a free flood management survey, and we pay for the installation of the improvements recommended," said Bill. "This scheme is good news for everyone in the Pednormead End area, and I'm very pleased that 40 have so far signed up.

"We're unlikely to get this level of financial support again, and its success in protecting properties depends so much on residents' involvement, so I'm aiming for a 100% take-up." 

The drop-in events, attended by more than 30 residents, featured visits from nationally renowned Mary Queen of Floods - Worcester resident Mary Dhonau, who has been flooded at least three times, and is now the voice of the flood victim at government level as chairman of the Flood Protection Group for the Property Care Association. Mary was on hand to discuss residents’ concerns over flood prevention and insurance matters. 

So far four properties have been surveyed, and they'll be offered a package of flood prevention measures tailored to their needs. 

Packages could include a combination of flood-resistant doors and ventilation covers, pumping systems, flood gates, and raising internal electrics above flood levels. The scheme also includes building a bigger culvert to take the river under Church Street.

The scheme , funded jointly by the County Council, the Government and Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, is in response to flooding five years ago, which put roads under two inches of water. Since then the County Council's Flood Management Team have been examining options for a scheme robust enough to deal with a one in 100 year flood event and a one in 30 year groundwater flow.

Mary 'Queen of Floods' joins Cabinet Member Bill Chapple OBE at the public drop-in session last week, to meet residents of Pednormead End, Chesham 

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