Torrential Rain Terrors: Recurrent Flooding Tests Resilience of Letcombe Regis Residents

The residents of Letcombe Road in Letcombe Regis, near Wantage, have once again been confronted with the sight of floodwaters. Torrential rain overnight on Wednesday, March 6, resulted in vast sections of the thoroughfare being soaked, frustrating local residents and disappointing councillors.

Working Tireslessly to Manage Flooding

The Oxfordshire County Council reacted promptly, deploying contractors to the flood-hit site. A trench was dug swiftly to accommodate a new pipe running from the road to the nearby Letcombe Brook. However, the scenario was further complicated as the trench was filled with rain, elevating the difficulties faced by residents.

Local councillor Paul Barrow at the site expressed concern that despite the measures taken, it might not be the last of the issues. “It was not helped by someone driving through the flood before the barriers went up, which damaged the pipe used for the pumping,” he lamented. The mentioned issue has since been addressed, with the damaged pipework replaced, and the floodwater on Letcombe Road has been effectively evacuated.

An End to Persistent Flooding?

The recurrent flooding in this region has been primarily attributed to the obstruction of drains by silt. The drainage system, which runs under the road, is designed to channel water from the sloping field to the north into Letcombe Brook. Nonetheless, before the water drains into the brook, it first settles into a sump where the silt accumulates. The rapid filling of this sump has triggered the flooding issues observed over the years.

“We are hoping that this new pipework will resolve most of the problem,” Barrow stated cautiously. “However, the silt and mud left on the road are evidence of how much is being drained off these fields. It seems probable that having to empty the sump twice a year might not be sufficient.” He voiced the concerns of the residents most affected by the repeated flooding and the parish council’s desire for a permanent solution.

Constant Battle with Flooding

The incident on Letcombe Road is not a standalone case of persistent flooding in recent months. In November 2023, emergency services had to be summoned to the W&G estate on A417 due to flooding in the aftermath of Storm Ciaran which forced sections of the road to be closed. Local business owners implored the emergency services to allocate more resources to managing the frequent flood occurrences to mitigate any disruptions.

Directing traffic away from the waterlogged W&G estate and halting vehicular use of the road was the immediate course of action taken. As for Letcombe Road, it remains closed, although dry for now. The new pipework has been put in place, and the silt left from the latest flooding event is scheduled to be cleared away over the coming week.

The residents of Wantage and its surrounding areas continue to look forward to more resilient solutions to the recurring flood issue that has plagued them for several years.

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