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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Woodborough Flooding - Public meeting 2007

Public Meeting 2007

In the first part of this article the minutes of a Parish Council meeting are provided. This meeting took place on the 2nd July 2007, before the fourth flooding on Thursday 26th July 2007. This is an exact copy taken from the Woodborough Parish Council's own website. It is therefore in the public domain and is also relevant to this topic.

The second part, the notes below are from our own short-hand record of an open meeting called by the Woodborough Parish Council on the 26th September 2007. It is expected that there will be further reporting as and when information or actions subsequently take place. Further reporting from the minutes of Woodborough Parish Council meeting appeared on their website and also below.


From the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Monday 2nd July 2007 at 7:30pm in The Village Hall, Lingwood Lane, Woodborough, Nottinghamshire.

PRESENT: Cllr. Geoff Parkinson (Chairman), Cllr. John Boot, Cllr. Paul Hough, Cllr. Mavis Leafe, Cllr. Richard Pietkiewicz, Cllr. Joanne Roper, Cllr. Jan Turton, Cllr. Charles Wardle and Cllr. Richard Whincup
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Mr Roger J Hawkins (Clerk) and fourteen residents.

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to an open meeting to discuss the recent floods in the village and apologised that nobody was able to attend from the Environment Agency as staff were still on full alert in view of the weather conditions.

The Chairman invited Michael Jillings to give an overview of his dealings with the Environment Agency over the last 18 months. Michael started by telling the meeting that the Environment Agency had made a number of promises but most were unfilled, largely due to budgetary restraints. However, a weekly debris clearance was undertaken. In Michael’s view there were two immediate priorities; the first was desilting of the watercourses to improve capacity and flow and secondly the culvert at the east end of Main Street was partially blocked and should be cleared. The Environment Agency had known about this problem since at least February of this year when he had walked the area with Stewart Foster. In the long term though it was imperative that the problems of run off from the higher ground were addressed, ideally by the construction of balancing ponds. Mrs Shirley Hoskins told the meeting that in 1991 there were plans to construct such a scheme but Gedling BC never went ahead.

Mr Chris Freeman told the meeting he had walked the dyke running alongside the Playing Field and he believed this to be blocked in at least two places and he thought clearance of all the watercourses should be a priority. The Chairman told the meeting that he believed there were probably four areas to be considered; the Playing Field and adjacent properties, the east end of Main Street, the west end of main street and the properties on higher ground affected by surface run-off. The blocked culvert had added to the problems but the conditions were so severe that it is likely flooding would have occurred in any case. There was general feeling that pressure should be kept on the Environment Agency to undertake a detailed survey of the village and the culverts and to clear these as a matter of urgency. Michael Jillings thought a high level meeting with Mr Lockhart from the Environment Agency and the Parish Council was essential and that a bid be again made for funding from the small rural schemes fund.

A camera survey had been promised by the Environment Agency but had so far not been done and it was suggested that the Parish Council should fund such a survey. The Chairman promised the Parish Council would consider this request.

Michael Jillings told the meeting of the problems experienced in obtaining sand bags from Gedling BC during the recent floods and suggested a store of sand bags be created in the village. There was some support for this idea but it was also accepted that individuals living in properties at risk should take responsibility for protecting their homes including keeping a supply of sand bags. Cllr. Richard Pietkiewicz told the meeting that the whole village was to be congratulated on the way everyone came together in an emergency and with Michael Jillings believed the idea of setting up an emergency team should be investigated.

Mrs Hoskins told the meeting that an emergency plan had existed in the past made up of volunteers who had access to equipment and had received training. The Chairman said he believed owners should take more steps to protect themselves but recognized that the Parish Council should take a lead in helping what should be done. The meeting was reminded that the Flood Forum maintained a very helpful web site (at www.floodforum.org.uk). A problem experienced by a number of residents during the flood was the number of vehicles driving at excessive speed and creating a wash but in the conditions it was difficult to slow down the traffic. It was suggested that volunteers should be asked to help clear the ditches and dykes but it was accepted that this was a specialist job and there would be health and safety concerns.

The open meeting finished at 8.25 pm
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr. Margaret Briggs (Vice Chairman)


Woodborough Parish Council
A Public Meeting Regarding Flooding, 26th September 2007
Woodborough Village Hall

These notes were taken for Woodborough Heritage's own purpose

The meeting was opened by Councillor Margaret Briggs who introduced the panel:

•    Morgan Wray, Asset Manager, Environment Agency
•    Neil Pope, Incident Flood Leader, Environment Agency
•    Stuart Foster, Operations Delivery, Environment Agency
•    Andy Wallace, Drainage Manager, Highways, Nottinghamshire County Council
•    John McGuigan, Emergency Planning Manager, Nottinghamshire County Council
•    John Evens, Technical Services Manager, Gedling Borough Council.
      Severn Trent were unable to send a representative!

The purpose of the meeting was outlined as being to consider what actions may be taken to try to prevent flooding in the future. (NB: There was no representation from Severn Trent)

Morgan Wray spoke about the history of the situation, indicating that previously discussions had taken place about the changes of management of critical ordinary water courses in April 2006 and that the brook in Woodborough had been included in that process. This brook is referred to as Woodborough brook and goes from Doverbeck on Main Road to Westfield Lane at the top of the village, including the spur to the school playing field. He indicated that the Environment Agency had limited powers, for example permissive powers such as rights of access.

Neil Pope mentioned the rainfall in June and July, explaining that it was exceptional for this period. The Environment Agency has rain gauges in Calverton, Lambley and Colwick but the rainfall in June was very localised. He explained that in June Woodborough received over three times the expected rainfall.

Stuart Foster explained that the water course was checked every Monday and Friday, including clearing and clearance of bushes and trees. This is also completed after severe weather warnings. There is also an annual river inspection and the course was walked on 9 September 2007. On standby 24 hours per day is a team which is alerted by an early warning alarm from Lambley when rain falls at over 10mm/hour.

Work on behalf of the Environment Agency has been contracted out to Balfour Beatty. This work is not yet finished. A CCTV has been run through the system and this has produced 40 hours of video which needs to be reviewed. De-silting has taken place from Bank Hill to Old Manor Close and 34 tonnes of debris has been removed including: silt, brick, rubble, hard-core, garden waste, a table and a manhole cover. It is anticipated that there will be a further 40 tonnes to be removed. The contractors have noted that since this work garden waste has been placed into culverts by persons unknown.

There will be modifications made to the two screens in the system in order to make them safer for operatives working on them. Work is also taking place to provide better access points to culverts and this is currently being discussed with partners.

In summary, the Environment Agency representatives explained that whilst a lot of debris had been cleared, there were no guarantees that this would prevent flooding. They would be commissioning a study to review the information gathered so far and assess any other precautions which could be taken. They would also be looking at longer term issues to alleviate effects of excess rainfall, but this may take years. The study will be finished by the end of the financial year. The study will include suggestions such as flood storage upstream in fields, and looking at the feasibility, negotiation and planning as well as funding which would include the Government and DeFRA. It was indicated that there is a ‘flooding fair’ at Bakewell on 24th October 2007 which would be outlining the actions that individuals may take to protect themselves and their property. It was pointed out that some responsibilities lie with those who have property adjacent to the water course. (Riparian responsibility)

Nottinghamshire County Council representatives explained that they were working with the Environment Agency and Gedling Borough Council to understand the system and to determine who is responsible for the culvert on Main Street. It was explained that if a drain is in the highway, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the responsibility of the County Council, but that it may be drainage owned by Severn Trent or in private ownership.

The Emergency Planning representative explained that there is a team and a centre which is opened as soon as flooding occurs. The team works with Social Services, Education, The Environment Agency and were responsible for the delivery of 150,000 sand bags. They also provide limited financial support for those without insurance. One thing that is being considered for Woodborough is a Flood Warden Scheme.

Questions were then welcomed from the audience:

Q – What about flood protection? It needs to be done urgently, as people have spent their own money but the EA and others need to move now.
A – EA are in the process of moving 40 tonnes of silt etc and it should be noted that Woodborough has received a high proportion of spend compared to other areas.

Q – What about a Woodborough warning system?
A –Trigger levels can be surpassed and false alerts can lead to complacency – it needs to be reliable and meaningful.

Q – What about foul water surcharges; it is not just about culverts?
A – The flood warning service from EA is dependent on the Colwick river gauge as are all villages on the Trent. This is difficult to interpret as the Woodborough flash flooding was very localised and it didn’t necessarily show on the Lambley gauge. These gauges can also be unreliable and inaccurate and they may trigger a number of false alarms.
A – Severn Trent were apparently unaware of any sewage problems, however it is not too late to report this so if anyone has experienced sewage they were advised to report it as soon as possible. It was pointed out that sometimes “backflush” was experienced.

Q – Sewage was reported to Environment Agency and also noted in 2006 when an inspection took place.
A – Information will be passed on.

Q – Has the EA run CCTV through the foul sewer?
A – No, but we will speak to Severn Trent regarding the foul sewer.

Q – A while ago the dyke was walked and at the end of Main Street it was noted that it needed draining but this was not done, also there were concerns near the Nags Head pub. This was 21 February 2007, some four months prior to the flooding and nothing was done, although it was known exactly what was required – what action is being taken now?
A – EA as outlined in our presentation.

Q – Damage has been identified to the underground culvert pipes; when will this be repaired?
A – Don’t know.

Q – Who will be responsible for doing it?
A – We need to determine if it is the only problem and whose responsibility it is
Comment – We don’t want to wait, we want you to do something urgently. Also you need to review the CCTV footage to determine what needs to be done such as clearing and repairing the culverts.

Q – When will we know who owns the culverts or has responsibility for them?
A – It could be a number of bodies. The EA owns nothing but the Highways may have responsibility if it is done as part of road expansions, alternatively it could be the water authority if it was previously used as a sewer and in some instances it would be the responsibility of the riparian owner. Woodborough is a mixture of all three. This will be determined within the next month or so.
Comment – I cannot do anything regarding repairs to the water course adjacent to my property because this has not been determined.

Q – We all know there is a problem with the foul sewer, how can we make sure that Severn Trent are aware (noting they are not present)
A – Report it and then action can be taken.

Q – The brook at the back of the fields is not inspected but there is a flash point where it connects to the Woodborough brook. This needs to be included in the inspection. Also for information the sewage and culverts were put in during 1966/7.
A – Noted with thanks.

Q – Recently the level of the road has been raised again, and much of the chippings material has gone into the culvert which has been recently cleared.  What will be done?
A – Gedling Borough Council no longer has responsibility for this.  Highways agency do and this will be reported to them.

Q – When was the last time the brook was de-silted?
A – Around 6 years ago by Gedling Borough Council.

Q – Seven years ago the manhole at 162 Main Street was blocked and both EA and Council were informed but nothing was done.  Why is there not a diary system?
A - EA took over responsibility last year and now feeds information into a maintenance programme. It would not necessarily be feasible to run CCTV every year but consideration will be given to best time scales.  

Q – When will the recent CCTV results be fully reviewed?
A – Within a month

Q – Why is the rubbish being removed in two tranches?
A –There was far more than expected and the process had to be reorganized. There are a number of other initiatives being covered as well, such as encouraging farmers to bear water issues in mind.

Q – On Main Street there are still some drains visibly blocked and those on the pavement.  What is being done?
A – The Main Street will be inspected again; also some of the drains are on higher ground.

Q – The open culvert at the top of the village has been narrowed by a brick wall in one part – is this affecting flow?
A – This has been reclassified as a river so the bylaws now dictate that EA have to be consulted prior to any construction and failure to do so may result in a civil law case. This will be investigated.

Q – Riparian land owners have a right to protect their own property from flood, what does this involve?
A – You can do it but must have permission from EA

Q – There are concerns that in six months time nothing will have changed, can we have some sort of systematic report to Woodborough residents
A – There is a working group with the community and all parties will return in 6 months to report actions.

The meeting then closed.


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