GLEBE Way, West Wickham, reopened over the weekend after closing while fire fighters carried out an emergency operation to tackle nearby flooding.

The road was closed for several days as water seeping into people's basements in Courtfield Rise was removed using high pressure pumping equipment.

An electrical substation, thought to power the homes of thousands of people, also came under threat.

An emergency situation is expected to remain for a number of weeks.

News Shopper:

Melanie Weston, of Courtfield Rise, told News Shopper flooding started when a culvert, located behind the houses in her road, burst last Friday.

The 45-year-old said: "The problem is the culvert was never cleaned - there was a build up of silts and roots and nothing was ever done about it.

"It's got worse and worse and worse.

"It's frustrating - you'd think something would have been done sooner especially as there is a substation there.

"The flooding spread across five gardens. Then the groundwater at Sparrows Den made the situation worse.

"At its worst, there was about three feet of water in the garden and I had a foot and a half in my basement.

"In a neighbour's house water was touching their floor boards and coming up through the house."


News Shopper:

Spencer Hawkes, 47, also of Courtfield Rise, added: "The culvert has been a problem we have been trying to address for some time, but that and the ground water problems caused a perfect storm.

"One night I spent checking the water levels every 15 minutes.

"There is a sense of fear - as a father and husband you have a sense of responsibility to protect your family.

"When you have water approaching the door you feel useless. It was scary.

"The response from the Environment Agency and Bromley Council has been swift, we have had workers in our back garden, wading through water to retrieve bicycles.

"They really have gone above and beyond."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Maintenance and clearance of culverts are the responsibility of the landowner. 

"However, the Environment Agency have carried out emergency works to the culvert to alleviate flooding to the area so that flood risk to the local community was reduced."

News Shopper:

Deputy leader of Bromley Council Colin Smith said: "Everyone continues to do whatever they can to support residents and prevent flooding, including protecting the critical electricity substation in Courtfield Rise.

"Quite why that was ever built where it was in the first place is a separate question for another day. 

"With groundwater levels continuing at record levels as they are, it really does remain a case of all hands to the pump both metaphorically and physically though, and it is feared that this could remain the situation for weeks to come yet. 

"Realistically there remains a limit to what the emergency services can do and while they have responded magnificently to date, the ongoing emergency situation still threatens significant challenges for the foreseeable future."