On 27 October, a report seeking approval for the funding of a flood alleviation scheme in Caterham-on-the-Hill and Old Coulsdon was approved by the Surrey County Council cabinet.
Caterham on the Hill has a history of severe flooding. In 2016, just under 150 properties along the watercourse that runs through the hill were flooded either externally or internally, and only in August this year, Banstead Road was flooded, causing a road closure for 10 days and disruption to local residents.
The Flood Alleviation programme is designed to reduce the flood risk to properties with a series of interventions over the medium to long term. These interventions aim to protect properties on an individual basis through measures known as property flood resilience, examples are flood proof doors, non-return valves and airbrick covers that prevent flood water from entering the home. The scheme will reduce flood risk to 205 properties in Caterham on the Hill and offer protection to those whose homes are at risk of flooding.
Surrey County Council and Tandridge District Council have been working with the Caterham Hill Flood Action Group, which has championed action on flooding in Caterham for the last four years, to ensure that resident concerns are listened to throughout the process and with this decision at Cabinet, this is a victory for local residents.
Chair of Caterham Hill Parish Council and local Conservative Jeremy Webster said, “As chairman of the Parish Council this scheme to help properties vulnerable to flooding is very welcome.”
Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change Cllr Natalie Bramhall said, “The scheme is part of the wider Surrey Flood Alleviation Scheme, Surrey County Council have taken the lead on this multi-agency scheme to reduce flood risk to properties in Caterham on the Hill and Old Coulsdon working alongside the community and flood action groups.
This £1.95M scheme is to better protect residents who have suffered repeated flooding issues, with funding coming from SCC, the Environment Agency Flood Defence Grant in Aid and the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
Wider catchment interventions such as the use of raingardens, swales and waterbutts will not only reduce the risk of flooding but also provide wider benefits such as increased biodiversity, improvements to air and water quality, a reduction in heat islands and an improvement in mental health and wellbeing for those benefitting from the measures.”