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Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association
Serving the community since 1928

Up in arms over floods

Residents who live in fear of heavy rain

Front-page story in the "Merton Boro' News", 27 December 1968

Worried residents of Bushey Road, Raynes Park, fear a heavy rainfall. For when it happens, they can only stand and watch helplessly as the water slowly creeps over the steps of their homes.

Floods are something these residents have lived with for years, and in fact the 40-year-old Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association was originally formed to fight the problem.

The real nightmare began with the heavy floods in September, when the row of houses between Grand Drive and the Alliance Sports Ground was completely awash.

Then, the week before Christmas, came heartbreak. A day's heavy rain flooded areas of the sports ground, and sewage and dirty water seeped into houses where carpets and furniture had only just been replaced from the last flooding.

Residents formed a bucket chain to bale water out until the Fire Brigade arrived.


Mrs. C. Filippe said : "This is the last straw. We are panic-stricken and never know when it is going to happen next. All the residents are up in arms. Several have written to the council.

"In September, we were told it was because of freak weather, but nothing has been done and it has happened again. We've only just put our carpets down again - this is absolutely heartbreaking."

Mrs. R. Middlemiss, whose home is next to the sports ground, said she feared the ground there might be subsiding. "We are used to water coming down the road and into the front gardens, but now every time it rains heavily the sports ground floods and the water comes through the fence into our back garden.

"Luckily, we were not taken by surprise this time. We saw the same set of circumstances occurring again as in September, and were ready for them. We called the Fire Brigade straight away and started baling before they arrived."

At the moment, there seems little hope for the residents. A spokesman for the Borough Surveyor's department said the problem of the foul water sewer was a major one.

No money

The G.L.C. had a major scheme for renewing the drainage in the Wandle Valley area generally, and the foul water sewer in the Bushey Road area would come within that scheme. But it was one of some magnitude, and the money just was not available at present.

He did not know of any subsidence of land at the sports ground, but felt that as the ground was already saturated from earlier floods, any heavy storm would cause a build-up of water to run off.

A deputation of six residents called on their M.P., Mr. Humphrey Atkins, after the flood. Later Mr. Atkins told the News : "I am most concerned about these foul sewers."

He was writing, he said, to Coun. Miss Naomi Watts, who some residents have already approached, and to Merton's Town Clerk and to its G.L.C. representative, Mr. F.W.Walker.

Coun. Miss Watts told the News : "I am very sorry for these people. It is not very nice to have other people's untreated sewage lapping at your doorstep." She would be raising the question in the council.