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Flooding and Street Cleaning

(see also our Environmental page)

Riddlesdown's Flood Alleviation Works:

Updated 23/7/21

As we posted on 21 June (below) and after about 10 years of perseverance by the RRA and Cllrs, we have been advised by the Council that the flood alleviation works for Riddlesdown will be starting on Monday 26 July and run until 31 August. There will traffic disruption during this period with temporary traffic lights in place.

We quote from the Council: "The works will initially start on Mitchley Ave at the junction to Lower Barn Rd. The works will involve the installation of linear drainage, construction of inspection chambers and soakaways, (which will be on the grass verge behind the bus stop and on the grass verge near to St Edmund's).  The works have been programmed to be completed before or on 31 August 2021 (subject to no major engineering difficulties being encountered), and the first couple of days would involve mainly setting out the site.

In order to facilitate the works and ensure they are completed safely, road and footway closure would be necessary, as well as bus stop suspension.  The co-operation of residents and road users would be required to ensure the works are completed as quickly as possible and safely.  Some disruptions are unavoidable.  However, these would be kept to a minimum and the operatives on site would be available to offer assistance where this may be required.

Phase 2 of the works (near to the railway bridge in Lower Barn Rd) is currently expected to follow immediately phase 1 is completed. We have however asked the contractors to look at starting some activities related to phase 2 of the works whilst phase 1 is ongoing, the installation of a new soakaway near the station entrance however, this will be subject to health and safety and other necessary clearances and permissions obtained."

Footnote - It is expected that flooding will not stop completely under the railway bridge, but it is hoped these flood alleviation works will reduce the flooding risk substantially. Time will tell!










Drawing Also available in pdf


Flood Prevention Works in Riddlesdown to go Ahead

Posted 21/6/21

In view of the heavy rain over the last few days and flooding, we have recently been given a new start date for works by the Council to try and alleviate the surface water flooding issues in Riddlesdown.

This work is on Mitchley Avenue near St Edmund's and also in Lower Barn Road by the railway bridge.

Phil Thomas from the RRA and Cllr Helen Redfern met with Steve Iles, the Council's Director for Public Realm by video a few weeks ago, and we were given a start date of 24 July. The works will continue until completed around about 16 September. The contractor FM Conway should start on the main A 2022 (Mitchley Ave) first and undertake these works during the school summer holidays and then move onto Lower Barn Rd.

We have yet to see the final plans/proposed works, but hopefully these works will help to substantially reduce the flooding risk at these two locations. The RRA pointed out to the Director that extensive cleaning of gullies and soakaways on the many streets further away that flow to these two low points also needs to be done, and this will also be looked at as well by the Council. Because of the chalk sub-strata there are no surface water sewers in Riddlesdown.

We will update further nearer the time. Hopefully, this time the work will go ahead after several false starts and budget issues!

Photo below of Mitchley Ave by St Edmund’s on 18 June 2021 - credit Cllr Helen Redfern
















Flood Prevention Works in Riddlesdown are Cancelled

Posted 16/11/20

The RRA learnt with dismay and huge annoyance yesterday (15/11/20), that Croydon Council have now cancelled the 1st phase of the flood prevention works that should have commenced in September 2020 but have been delayed for various reasons for both the flooded hotspots of Mitchley Ave (by St Ed's) and in Lower Barn Rd under the railway bridge.

The Council have been given the money to spend on various flooding schemes in the Borough by DEFRA but because of the Section 114 issued last week by the Council, they have now decided to incorporate this money within the general fund. The RRA find this quite appalling.

The RRA have been complaining to the Council for about 10 years now, to get something done about the flooding - which is getting worse and more frequent and we thought we were close to achieving this. Ward Cllr Helen Redfern has also been involved with this flooding issue since being elected in 2018.

The RRA are currently reviewing the options but we may well take this further (we subsequently sent a stage 1 complaint to the Council). But for the time being be prepared for more flooding in Riddlesdown (like the photos in 2015) that at times does cut our community in half with a 1 mile detour up and down steep hills to the shops and/or up or down line rail platforms and vice versa.

The RRA are also extremely concerned about the complete lack of street cleaning and that virtually all road gully grids in the roads leading to these two areas are blocked with leaves at the moment. A number of elderly residents have also expressed concern to us that they are afraid to go out in case they slip over on the wet leaves on some of the sloping pavements.

Photos; credit Darren Wittwer - 24/8/15












































Flooding in Lower Barn Rd on 15, 20 and 21 December

Updated 7/1/20

Following heavy rain flooding has occurred at least three times in December (15th, 20th & 21st) as well as 26/27 November (see below), under the railway bridge in Lower Barn Rd. This has caused issues for rail commuters and also residents trying to access the shops. It was particularly bad on 21 December and lasted all morning and into the afternoon. The detour if residents and/or commuters don't want to get wet feet, is about 1 mile.

The RRA have been in regular contact with senior Council Officers and local Councillors about this and we have been told after the flooding on 21 December, that the Council that  the section 19, of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 which was instigated in 2015 by the Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) is still is applicable.


This basically says:

19 Local authorities: investigations

(1) On becoming aware of a flood in its area, a lead local flood authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate -

(a) which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and

(b) whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood.

(2) Where an authority carries out an investigation under subsection (1) it must-

(a) publish the results of its investigation, and

(b) notify any relevant risk management authorities.


We have commented further to the Council that many of Riddlesdown's streets have not been cleaned that well by Veolia of leaves and there are many road gullies that are blocked and have been for some time (especially in Lower Barn Rd and Coombe Wood Hill). We have been told that Lower Barn Rd was like a river on the last flooding event. This is probably because flooding also occurred on Mitchley Ave by the zebra crossing and it overspilled into Lower Barn Rd.

The RRA believe the situation may have got worse at this location since the construction of the boundary wall and raised ground levels of the flats at Riddleah Court in 2014. This has now prevented flood water overspilling into the former woodland and the existing soakaways at this location cannot take the volume of surface water now.


We will continue to monitor the situation.

Two Photos below taken 21 December 2019


























Photo Below taken 20 December 2019- Credit Lynda Lester





















Update 27/11/19 - Flooding in Lower Barn Rd

Following the heavy rain overnight and the early morning flooding under the railway bridge in Lower Barn Rd which caused issues for some commuters, the RRA have contacted the Council about this.

We have commented to the Council that many of Riddlesdown's streets have not been cleaned by Veolia for well in excess of 6 weeks (if not longer). There are leaves everywhere on footways, gutters and in the carriageways. Many gully grids are blocked and have been for some time (especially in Lower Barn Rd) and some have long term debris matter in them and not just with the current leaf fall. Lower Barn Rd gully grids are awful and it isn't surprising this flooding happens so frequently now.

We have asked for some urgent action to clear all gully grids locally to stop this flooding happening again with all the rain we are getting at the moment and to clean the streets. We have received many complaints recently, particularly from the elderly that footways are extremely slippery with leaf fall (especially by the station entrance under the rail bridge in LBR) and made worse when it is frosty.

It needs to be remembered this area under the rail bridge is the lowest level from far away, such as Honister Heights, top of Mitchley Hill, top of Rectory Park, Westfield Ave, top of Coombe Wood Hill etc and all surface water from these roads, if not collected on route in road gullies, flows and ponds at this low point in Lower Barn Rd. It covers a large area of streets.

In return the Direct of Public Realm at the Council has responded:

"that the torrential rain last night has seen a few locations around the borough experiencing localised flooding which the teams are dealing with.

I note your comment regarding gully clearing and I am aware in roads where they are heavily parked it is not easy to access all gullies and as such this puts added pressure on those that are accessible. We will check the gullies in and around the station and where necessary cleanse, if there are gullies further up the road that need attending too they will put together a plan to close the road and cleanse them all.

Veolia do bring in additional resources to undertake leaf clearing, this is an additional service to the routine street cleansing activity. We will arrange for the streets to be checked and cleansed where necessary.

If not already I would appreciate if you could encourage residents to report environmental issue through our online reporting processes, I have attached a useful leaflet which you may want to circulate."

We have responded in respect of the on street parking comment that it can only get worse, with all the new flats being approved locally by Planners and insufficient on site parking and more vehicles will therefore be parking on the roads causing more street cleaning issues!

We will continue to monitor the situation.

This is the link to the Council website to report Environmental issues.


The flooding photo below - credit Nina Fay.









































































Update 23/3/16 - Flooding in Lower Barn Rd

Although it occurred a number of months ago, the RRA did ask in August last year, whether anyone had photos of the flooding in Lower Barn Rd by the Station.

We have now managed to obtain some photos which showed the extensive flooding on 24 August 2015. Most people who have already seen them, comment that this is the worst flooding in memory at this location. Flooding occurs reasonably frequently here.

The RRA have been raising with the Council for many years now about the flooding at this location and we have passed these photos onto the Council and Councillors.

In the RRA's recent correspondence to the Council we have pointed out the grey Network Rail high voltage electrical box, is partly flooded. The Police closed the road because they were afraid a member of the public would get electrocuted! We told Network Rail in 2011 this would happen when they located the box by the road!

Interestingly at the Public Inquiry which the Planning Inspector held for the flats development in 2008 (now called Riddleah Court), the Inquiry was told that flooding on this scale would not happen!

The RRA believes the Council's Planning Department and the Planning Inspector, now have a lot of questions to answer! The application was refused by the Planning Committee but overturned by the Planning Inspector. The RRA did say then, flooding would continue to occur!

The RRA believe this flooding is now worse because the land levels within the new flats development have been raised for the bicycle shed and the car park. There is now also a small retaining wall at the back edge of the footpath which acts like a dam. Previously before this development was built, any high flood water that accrued at this point was allowed to overflow on to the woodland. This is now not happening. The RRA believe the Council and the developer should have taken this into account!

The RRA are now asking the Council going what they are going to do to stop any further deep flooding. It is a major inconvenience to commuters using the station and to residents wishing to get to the shops, not to mention the safety of the public, with Network Rail’s high voltage electrical box which floods.

We keep telling the Council that road gullies and soakaways as far away as Mitchley Hill, Derwent Drive, and Ingleboro Drive need to be regularly kept clear because this location is the low point for a number of square miles, if rainwater is not dispersed at higher levels.

We shall see what the Council do, if anything!

The Three Photos below taken on 24 August 2015 and kindly supplied

by Darren Wittwer




























































Update 5/9/15 - Flooding at Various Locations

The heavy rain in the area on 24 August 2015, which caused localised flooding, resulting in a number of problems, particularly in Lower Barn Rd under the railway bridge (where the Police closed the road), Mitchley Ave by the zebra crossing and at the bottom of Copthorne Rise & Brancaster Lane near to the Purley Bury Ave junction, we have again raised the matter with the Director of Streets at Croydon Council about the lack of street cleaning and gully cleansing, particularly in streets which are sited above these low points. This is something the RRA have raised with the Council for many years now, in view of the continuous flooding in Lower Barn Rd under the railway bridge.

We have since learnt that the police closed Lower Barn Rd because they were concerned about possible electrocution from Network Rail’s electricity box which is sited beside the roadway on the north east corner of the bridge. A risk of flood water getting into this box, was something we raised with Network Rail in 2011 and we did warn them that this box was liable to be flooded. The RRA were under the impression that Network Rail were going to move it!

We have pointed out to the Council that since the implementation of the "village system" in early June, the road sweeping vehicle that undertook a 4 weekly clearance of the gutters on the streets in Riddlesdown has not been seen since the introduction of this new "village system". It is not really the job of residents to keep the roads, footways, road gullies grids and gutters clean although we do know many residents do litter pick in the area. We will report back when we get a response from the Council.


RRA Meet With Councillors and Officers

About Drainage, Litter and Leaves on our Streets

Update 4 September 2013 by Phil Thomas

On behalf of the RRA, I have been complaining for many years now to the Council and our Purley & Sanderstead Ward Councillors about the general untidy state of the area and flooding in Riddlesdown. I firmly believe that all local and river authorities have a lot to answer for by not regularly cleaning and maintaining the surface water system on the roads and insufficient dredging of rivers. It is part of the reason why there is so much flooding in this country now!

Following the torrential hailstorm on Christmas Day 2012, debris which was mainly on the roads under parked vehicles was washed down towards many gullies from the torrential rain and flooding again occurred in a number of locations. Because of this, I again contacted Sanderstead and Purley Ward Councillors and on 3 January I met in Lower Barn Rd with my namesake, Councillor Phil Thomas (Cabinet Member for Highways & Environmental Services) and Councillor Tim Pollard (Deputy Leader of the Council and Sanderstead Ward Councillor), plus two Council Officers. At this meeting I handed to the Council representatives, a long list of many highway defects (road & footway potholes), blocked drainage and gullies and grass verge damage to a number of streets and public footpaths in our area. I am pleased to report that the Council have responded and accepted many of these requests and indeed many items have now been undertaken by them or they promise works will be undertaken in the new financial year from April. This is indeed a good result and we hope the Council understand our concerns and undertake regular street maintenance without being nagged by us. However they have not accepted all of the requests. The RRA responded further on 5 September 2013 and await a further response.

We have had a situation for many years now that virtually no street cleaning takes place to footways and leaves, litter and debris was evident in a number of streets in our area but it was particularly bad on footways and roads near to the Station where commuter parking is a problem. The Council seem to think that sending a mechanical sweeper around our streets and cleaning the gutters only, is sufficient! Gutters are not the only place where litter and debris occurs! I did also advise them that Veolia, the Council’s contractor, do send mechanical sweepers around our streets; usually monthly but unfortunately this is mid-afternoon, when commuter parking is at its worse! I have asked them to consider Weekend Street cleaning on these streets.

Footway sweeping does not appear to be undertaken on a regular basis and is only undertaken when the RRA complain! Some parts of Riddlesdown, in particular streets close to the Station are usually pretty littered together with areas near to Riddlesdown Collegiate. In our opinion Riddlesdown appears to be neglected for footway cleaning!! What annoys me intensely is that streets in residential parts of Thornton Heath have street cleaning undertaken by hand (a man and a barrow) and also Mechanical Street cleaning, daily!! Why are these streets cleaned so frequently, whereas we, in this part of the Borough, rarely see any hand street cleaning?!

However, hopefully, from subsequent appearances, this might have now changed as hand sweeping does seem to be occurring, in the streets where parking is a problem but we will be watching the situation very carefully!

Interestingly the Council are currently advertising a “Keep it Clean” promotion which is meant, with the publics’ help, to make our streets cleaner! To quote their website, “take personal responsibility to help to keep your streets clean and reduce litter. You can help by using the litter bins provided; there are approximately 1,500 litter bins in Croydon. Use the special bins for all smoking-related litter, such as cigarette butts, and recycle your rubbish where possible.” Unfortunately one request we have made, is to replace the missing bin opposite the shops in Lower Barn Rd, but this request has been refused! I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this Council advertising campaign is genuine or not?!

We have also raised with the Council about the extensive litter on footways through the woodland near to Riddlesdown Collegiate mainly in the unmade section of Dunmail Drive and the Public Footpath by the houses in Mitchley Hill and we have asked that something is done about it.

Another point that we have raised with them, is the ever increasing number of plastic bottles that are now appearing on the streets, particularly just before the green bin, recycling days. It would appear that many residents are leaving out the green recycling bins without the lids. If it is windy, these plastic bottles do blow out of the bins and then roll around onto the streets and are not picked up by Veolia staff. However, it would be helpful if residents would ensure that the bins, when left out on the street or in the front of properties have their lids on. If your bin doesn’t have a lid, or you require some more bins, then please contact the Council, either through their website Link or telephone them on 020 8726 6200 to request free replacements.

Also a link to Croydon Council’s website for residents to report any Highway defect - Report it Link

Examples below of what happens when the Council don’t keep gullies in many streets clear of debris. Flooding under the railway bridge 13 July 2007. Photo credit; Alan Barnes














Photo below taken November 2009 (although not as severe as July 2007). Photograph credit; Nick Bygrave

















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