Houses planned for inundated village

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Behind Vivienne Blakley's home yesterday stretched the most picturesque country lake. The only problem with the idyllic scene was that this area ofMersham, near Ashford, Kent, had not been earmarked for pleasure boating but hundreds of new homes. The "lake" was in fact a flooded plain.

Behind Vivienne Blakley's home yesterday stretched the most picturesque country lake. The only problem with the idyllic scene was that this area ofMersham, near Ashford, Kent, had not been earmarked for pleasure boating but hundreds of new homes. The "lake" was in fact a flooded plain.

"They want to build a huge development there. I'm just a mere mortal and I don't understand, but I think it's insanity," said Mrs Blakley.

She struck a sad figure yesterday as she waded through the pond that had once been her garden. Her home had only been saved from a watery invasion by the foresight of a local builder, who installed raised floors - unlike many of her neighbours on the appropriately named Flood Street.

What was usually a shallow stream running through the village had become an 8ft deep river that eventually burst its banks yesterday morning.

Wellington boots had become the new dress code in the neighbour Farriers Arms which continued cheerfully to serve locals. Others whose homes backed on to the East Stour retreated upstairs as the waters flooded into their kitchens and lounges.

The area, once renowned for flooding, had remained dry for many years thanks to a major defence dam built just over a decade ago. But the treacherous weather of the past few days proved too much for the defences.

"It was very frightening. We moved here seven years ago because we thought it would be a lovely place to bring up the children. Everyone said it didn't flood any more but look at it now," Mrs Blakley said.

But what worried her most was the prospect of homesbeing built behind her house. "At the moment it is covered in water. If they cover it in concrete, where will the water go?

"They say it is an available piece of land, but the reason it is available is that it is a flood plain."

Although the area has been earmarked for the building of 1,400 homes, Ashford Borough Council said that any development will not be directly on the flood plain but on its outskirts.

Comments