A torrential downpour wreaked havoc in Aldershot on Saturday (June 28), with a councillor arguing an increase in extreme weather in recent months means such incidents can no longer be treated as a one-off.
A dry morning gave way to what Aldershot Park councillor Mike Roberts described as a ‘intense’ downpours, forcing him to travel back from London to visit residents who battled to save their homes from flooding.
Homeowners in Whyte Avenue were given sandbags by Rushmoor Borough Council as surface water levels rose up to their doorsteps before receding.
Ash Road, at the junction with North Lane, was damaged after a surge of water through the sewers forced the manhole cover open, allowing water to destroy the road surface.
An area of the road spanning the full width of one of the Ash Road lanes was damaged and removed, with the road closed on Saturday and due to reopen yesterday. This delayed commuters along the busy route and forced those using North Lane to take a detour.
Cllr Roberts is calling for long-term solutions to be put in place to prevent the kind of flooding issues that are occurring more and more often in areas such as the Aldershot Park estate, where Heronwood Road, Allden Avenue and Newcome Place have also been at risk after heavy rain, as well as parts of North Lane.
“We had what I call normal rain in London, whereas here we had flash flooding rain,” he said. “This has proved not to be a one-off due to the rainfall increasing. With intensity of that we need to look at the drainage in both pipes and storm drains.”
He said he expected Thames Water Authority and Hampshire County Council to be holding discussions in the coming months to address the issue.
Work was carried out at the end of last year to repair cracked pipes in Heronwood Road after Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth lent his support to residents there.
“Those that have the power need to look at this a bit more seriously,” added Cllr Roberts.
The Aldershot Military Festival was among a number of public events that were disrupted by Saturday’s heavy rain. Thames Water was initially involved in the Ash Road damage investigation, as its sewer beneath the road was full of water, but repairs are being carried out by the county council.
A spokesman for the highways authority said: “These works are needed because the road has been damaged by a sewer surcharge.
“There is no structural damage to the road, nor to the sewer or manhole.”
He added that Thames Water had replaced the manhole cover on Tuesday, after which the council was due to resurface the road ready for the next morning. This work was planned to take place overnight.
Cllr Frank Rust, who represents North Town, said he was aware that people were inconvenienced by the damage and was pleased the repairs were being carried out.