01:34PM, Thursday 08 April 2021
Debris could be finally cleared at parts of the Wraysbury drain after being left clogged for two years.
At an infrastructure overview and scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, April 6, members heard how the Royal Borough plans to better itself as a lead local flood authority following key officers leaving the council over the years.
National flood prevention party member, councillor Ewan Larcombe (Datchet, Horton, and Wraysbury) asked why the Wraysbury drain at Wraysbury station and at Feathers Lane has not been properly maintained for around two years despite officers knowing about the problem.
According to Cllr Larcombe, tree roots are growing around and over the parts of the drain, and another part is blocked with gravel.
He added: “At Feathers Lane, I believe the channel has been dammed, fenced, and culverted without permission. I believe the Feathers Lane blockages caused highway flooding in February 2021.”
Simon Dale, head of commissioning, said he had no idea why the Wraysbury drain hasn’t been dealt with in that two-year period but pledged to set up a meeting with Cllr Larcombe and other interested parties on how they will resolve it.
However, he added it’s “extremely complicated” to resolve as the drain has different land ownerships and excavations.
Cllr Larcombe argued part of the problem is due to an “organisational loss of memory” as key members of staff have left the council over the years, leaving problems like the Wraysbury drain unresolved.
Mr Dale responded, saying people leaving the council is an “inevitability”, but acknowledged they haven’t been as responsive to flooding over the years and have put an action plan together to tackle this issue.
Part of the plan includes updating the local flood risk management plan, delivering an alternative flood defence scheme in partnership with the environment agency for Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury, and Old Windsor, soakaway improvements, and more.
Mr Dale said: “It’s fair to say that Windsor and Maidenhead haven’t necessarily been quick off the mark in recognising these things and there has been a lot of turbulence in recent years with one or two key members of staff moving on.
“We are putting the team back together, which will see the council in much safer hands and much more proactive hands when we come to discharging our responsibilities in this particular matter.”
According to a national highways and transport survey on resident satisfaction, the Royal Borough is below the national average of dealing with flooding on roads and pavements, but Mr Dale said prioritising to improve this.
A number of schools across in Maidenhead and the surrounding areas have been named as top performers in Parent Power, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2022.