Petition - Rectory Road Farnborough

Response from Hampshire County Council, March 2016

Rectory Road Flood Alleviation Scheme – Farnborough, Hampshire

Further to your letter of 2 February 2016, and our acknowledgement dated 15 February 2016 (reference HF/11028066), I wanted to thank you for writing to us about the above and for the comprehensive notes, photographs and plans that you included. These are very helpful.

As you know, Hampshire County Council, working with the Borough Council, has commissioned a study of the flooding in Rectory Road to understand the mechanisms of flooding which has historically occurred in this area and to identify potential solutions to reduce future flood.

In order to inform this study, we wrote to 59 local residents within the immediate area in July last year asking for their help in completing a questionnaire. The map with the red outline sent with the questionnaire, and to which you refer, indicates those properties included in the survey rather than the extent of the study.

By September 2015, we had received 21 responses providing some very helpful information about flooding in the area, and how it affected properties and the road. This has been used to help progress the study and I can confirm that although our attention has been primarily focussed on reducing the risk of flooding to properties on Rectory Road, the recreation ground, Rectory Road, the railway bridge, the SSE sub-station, and Thames Water and Network Rail assets have all been included within the area under consideration. I note particularly your concern about the water issuing from the embankment retaining wall and the contribution that this is making to the flooding under the bridge.

The study has now been substantially completed and a potential scheme has been identified. This will aim to reduce the risk of flooding from surface water runoff from the recreation ground, Rectory Road, and the railway bridge which are all interlinked. In summary, the scheme would include a bund to the rear of those properties backing onto Rectory Road Recreation Ground and who are most at risk, and improving the culverts between Rectory Road and the railway line to enable flood water to get away. As you have indicated, the further development, delivery and success of any scheme in this area will depend upon the full involvement and cooperation of Thames Water and Network Rail, and securing the necessary funding.

You refer in your letter to a report to the County Council dated 15 December 2014 setting out indicative funding allocations for Rectory Road. This highlights potential Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) from Defra, and local levy which is administered by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. As the report makes clear, securing national funding is subject to the approval of a robust business case confirming that the scheme is viable and cost beneficial. The process to get to this point can be complex and time consuming.

As you may know, all councils are facing significant funding reductions and, with a requirement for significant levels of partnership contributions, access to central government support for schemes such as Rectory Road has become much more difficult. The County Council and the Borough Council are both committed to doing all they can to bring forward suitable flood alleviation measures in this location and are engaging with Thames Water and Network Rail to see what can be achieved. However, the situation is extremely challenging.

In the meantime, the County Council and Borough Council will continue to ensure that the existing highway drainage, and drainage in the recreation ground, is operating as effectively as it can.

As soon as there are some clear outcomes from discussions with Thames Water, Network Rail and other agencies whose involvement is critical to any scheme, we will ensure that local residents are updated and given an opportunity to comment on the next steps.

Thank you again for the information that you've provided. I note that you have provided copies of this to the Borough Council, Thames Water and Network Rail. We shall be making full use of it in our discussions with them.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Sean Woodward

Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment