Residents unite with 'Fight the Floods' petition for defences

Ron and Jan McEvoy alongside neighbours in their home, which was gutted by this year's floods.

Ron and Jan McEvoy alongside neighbours in their home, which was gutted by this year's floods.

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A RALLYING cry has been issued this week for Marlow residents to back a campaign to push for a long-awaited flood defence scheme for the town.

Two daughters of an elderly couple forced out of their Pound Lane home in February's floods when water poured in have launched a petition calling for the remaining funds to be made available for the multi-million pound project.

The £8.5million Enviroment Agency scheme for earth bunds and underground pumping stations to protect nearly 200 properties received planning permission in 2010.

The project has been on ice ever since due to a funding gap of as much as £3million.

But after the devastating floods earlier this year which affected over 50 properties in Marlow and many more in outlying villages, MP Dominic Grieve has pledged his support to finding the missing funds.

Wendy McEvoy and Sandra Jeffs, whose parents Jan and Ron McEvoy moved into flood-hit Pound Lane eight years ago, have launched the ‘Fight the Floods’ petition to demonstrate public support for the project.

They have had support from neighbours, including residents of Garnet Court who battled alongside firefighters to keep the water at bay during several pumping efforts over the last few months.

And after meeting with Marlow MP Dominic Grieve to discuss the plans, the determined pair say action must be taken fast before the planning permission expires next year.

Mrs Jeffs said: "We felt as family members that Marlow really pulled together nicely when the emergency services and army where here and it was all very visible.

"But now the floods have gone away, the people who were actually flooded are still suffering, but nobody knows because you can’t actually see it.

"It’s about trying to make people aware that for people who do need help, all we’re asking for is your signature to back this.

"It’s not just week you’re flooded, it’s a long term thing. A lot of them are elderly like our parents and our parents have lived in Marlow all their life and they really need the town to pull together."

Mr and Mrs McEvoy are still unable to return to their home after floodwater caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to their home less than a year after they moved in.

Ms McEvoy described the devastation which destroyed the ground floor of her parents' property and gutted whole swathes of their home.

She said: "It’s been terrible. The psychological effect has been worrying, to the point where you wonder if they’re going to get over it. When they moved in they were told it may flood once in 100 years.

"It’s been devastating for them, there’s no other word for it. And the anxiety of moving back and the threat of it happening again are massive.

"Because the plans are there for the defences, and some of the money’s there, as far as we and my mum and dad are concerned, it’s a no-brainer."

The Environment Agency’s Flood Alleviation Scheme would protect an estimated 187 homes in Marlow, but would not extend to villages surrounding the town which were also badly affected.

The plans include constructing flood walls, bunds, and groundwater pumping wells at Pound Lane, Lower Pound Lane, Gossmore Lane and Firview Close.

After February’s floods, Wycombe District Council leader Richard Scott, who represents Marlow, made a fresh call for the missing funding to be found.

At the time, Dominic Grieve told the MFP he would do everything he could to find the missing funding, which Cllr Scott estimated at around £1million.

Mr Grieve, though unavailable for comment at time of going to press, has requested a briefing from the Environment Agency about the current situation and funding deficit.

Cllr Scott, in his role as county councillor for Marlow, told the MFP this week: "I did contact Dominic Grieve MP just before Easter to follow up on his promise to talk to the appropriate Government department about seeking additional funding to complete the amount required for the flood prevention work around Marlow.

"To date I have not had a response, so will follow up with him now that the Parliamentary Easter recess is almost over."

Mr Grieve's parliamentary office has confirmed that the Marlow MP wrote to the secretary of state on the scheme this week and is in the process of dealing with the matter.

However, the Environment Agency has sounded a less optimistic tone on the required amount to make the scheme a reality, putting the figure at more like £3million.

EA spokesman Ash Dobson said: "The Environment Agency has developed plans for a proposed flood alleviation scheme to protect parts of Marlow from flooding from both the River Thames and groundwater to 287 properties.

"Our current estimates show that the total scheme would cost £8.54million, of which around £2.96million would be met by government funding.

"Before it can progress, the Marlow scheme will need a contribution of £5.58million from partners and other organisations, with a further £3million still to be sourced. The Environment Agency is working with them to coordinate their support."

The ‘Fight the Floods’ petition is available to sign at Burgers the Bakers on the High Street and Beehive Treats on Spittal Street.

A Facebook page has also been set up under the Fight the Floods name, which contains a link to an e-petition which also available for to sign.

Comments (10)

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7:10pm Fri 25 Apr 14

wood81 says...

I have every sympathy with anyone affected by floods but Pound Lane and the houses there were built on a swampy area which i first knew in the 1950s and 60s. It was a surprise then to see houses built where flooding was common. I wonder if anyone living there is really aware of how it was, and, unfortunately, still is
I have every sympathy with anyone affected by floods but Pound Lane and the houses there were built on a swampy area which i first knew in the 1950s and 60s. It was a surprise then to see houses built where flooding was common. I wonder if anyone living there is really aware of how it was, and, unfortunately, still is wood81
  • Score: 4

3:51pm Sun 27 Apr 14

Marmite XO says...

Let's not build schools or hospitals. Let's waste money on flood defences that may not even work. Then we can spend money trying to stop noise from people living next to airports.
Let's not build schools or hospitals. Let's waste money on flood defences that may not even work. Then we can spend money trying to stop noise from people living next to airports. Marmite XO
  • Score: 1

5:39pm Sun 27 Apr 14

jimjam79 says...

and it looks like it is going to happen again very soon as of today the river levels are very high again just started creeping up on to the towpath.
and it looks like it is going to happen again very soon as of today the river levels are very high again just started creeping up on to the towpath. jimjam79
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Sun 27 Apr 14

gpn01 says...

I may be wrong but I thought that the purpose of inland flood defences isn't to stop flooding but to simply cause the flooding to happen elsewhere. The best way to avoid the risk of flooding is to not have buildings in areas that could flood and to not build on flood plains as this then increases the risk to other areas. Unfortunately too, people don't understand that "only happens once in 100 years" is only a guess and certainly doesn't mean "won't happen within the next 100 years".
I may be wrong but I thought that the purpose of inland flood defences isn't to stop flooding but to simply cause the flooding to happen elsewhere. The best way to avoid the risk of flooding is to not have buildings in areas that could flood and to not build on flood plains as this then increases the risk to other areas. Unfortunately too, people don't understand that "only happens once in 100 years" is only a guess and certainly doesn't mean "won't happen within the next 100 years". gpn01
  • Score: 3

7:33pm Sun 27 Apr 14

wood81 says...

Coming back to my original point the flooding in the area in question has little to do directly with the river, From the Henley Road and the hills beyond water will flow downhill to the lowest point. THat happens to be where houses were built.
Coming back to my original point the flooding in the area in question has little to do directly with the river, From the Henley Road and the hills beyond water will flow downhill to the lowest point. THat happens to be where houses were built. wood81
  • Score: 1

10:59am Mon 28 Apr 14

thethe says...

where are they going to pump the water to? there is nowhere for it to go. Waste of money putting flood defences in an area like that
where are they going to pump the water to? there is nowhere for it to go. Waste of money putting flood defences in an area like that thethe
  • Score: 1

10:05pm Mon 28 Apr 14

letsgo9 says...

Planning permission was granted for this scheme in 2010, the Environment Agency said they were committed to the scheme - a need for flood defences was clearly identified. Taking into account what the flooding in Marlow must have cost this year (emergency vehicles and personnel, military troops, sandbags, road damage etc) the shortfall in funding for the scheme is relatively very little.
Please support this campaign.
Planning permission was granted for this scheme in 2010, the Environment Agency said they were committed to the scheme - a need for flood defences was clearly identified. Taking into account what the flooding in Marlow must have cost this year (emergency vehicles and personnel, military troops, sandbags, road damage etc) the shortfall in funding for the scheme is relatively very little. Please support this campaign. letsgo9
  • Score: 2

9:13pm Tue 29 Apr 14

DonRockell says...

My sympathy does not go to these who knew the problem and chose to ignore it or made silly modification to their properties that face the Marsh that still exists and has flooded dozens of times in the past - I can remember houses with their gardens flooded so deep that the owners could open a window and touch the water with out leaning out - yet they did not flood inside the house (or bungalow) at the time - Yet now they do - somethings changed and its not the Marsh which is still there (it hasn't moved or got bigger in fact got dryer year on year)
My sympathy does not go to these who knew the problem and chose to ignore it or made silly modification to their properties that face the Marsh that still exists and has flooded dozens of times in the past - I can remember houses with their gardens flooded so deep that the owners could open a window and touch the water with out leaning out - yet they did not flood inside the house (or bungalow) at the time - Yet now they do - somethings changed and its not the Marsh which is still there (it hasn't moved or got bigger in fact got dryer year on year) DonRockell
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Tue 29 Apr 14

DonRockell says...

DonRockell wrote:
My sympathy does not go to these who knew the problem and chose to ignore it or made silly modification to their properties that face the Marsh that still exists and has flooded dozens of times in the past - I can remember houses with their gardens flooded so deep that the owners could open a window and touch the water with out leaning out - yet they did not flood inside the house (or bungalow) at the time - Yet now they do - somethings changed and its not the Marsh which is still there (it hasn't moved or got bigger in fact got dryer year on year)
PS -- They can pump the flood away - well not without draining the Thames so what do they want - the rate payer to tank their houses or make them float
[quote][p][bold]DonRockell[/bold] wrote: My sympathy does not go to these who knew the problem and chose to ignore it or made silly modification to their properties that face the Marsh that still exists and has flooded dozens of times in the past - I can remember houses with their gardens flooded so deep that the owners could open a window and touch the water with out leaning out - yet they did not flood inside the house (or bungalow) at the time - Yet now they do - somethings changed and its not the Marsh which is still there (it hasn't moved or got bigger in fact got dryer year on year)[/p][/quote]PS -- They can pump the flood away - well not without draining the Thames so what do they want - the rate payer to tank their houses or make them float DonRockell
  • Score: 0

9:59pm Tue 29 Apr 14

DonRockell says...

letsgo9 wrote:
Planning permission was granted for this scheme in 2010, the Environment Agency said they were committed to the scheme - a need for flood defences was clearly identified. Taking into account what the flooding in Marlow must have cost this year (emergency vehicles and personnel, military troops, sandbags, road damage etc) the shortfall in funding for the scheme is relatively very little.
Please support this campaign.
The problem is that they didn't think before making silly claims - this Flood water is rising out of the ground - just like the rest of the water table in the valley - after all the Thames doesn't just flow through that nice little channel we see but it also flows through he ground all along the valley and cant be diverted or pumped away. (well not without a few hundred million being spent on it but I think Mr Grieve wants to waist our money on HS2 before pumping the Thames Valley Dry.
[quote][p][bold]letsgo9[/bold] wrote: Planning permission was granted for this scheme in 2010, the Environment Agency said they were committed to the scheme - a need for flood defences was clearly identified. Taking into account what the flooding in Marlow must have cost this year (emergency vehicles and personnel, military troops, sandbags, road damage etc) the shortfall in funding for the scheme is relatively very little. Please support this campaign.[/p][/quote]The problem is that they didn't think before making silly claims - this Flood water is rising out of the ground - just like the rest of the water table in the valley - after all the Thames doesn't just flow through that nice little channel we see but it also flows through he ground all along the valley and cant be diverted or pumped away. (well not without a few hundred million being spent on it but I think Mr Grieve wants to waist our money on HS2 before pumping the Thames Valley Dry. DonRockell
  • Score: 0

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