Urgent action needed to stop flooding in HGS

For Nicky Neftalin, July and August don't just mean summer - they mean a risk of flooding. After four deluges since 2007, it's time for action.

Photo: Tony Brand

Since moving into a property in Wildwood Road in 2007, our home has been flooded on four separate occasions. Many neighbouring properties in the vicinity have also been affected. All the events have taken place in July/August following exceedingly heavy downpours. The last such event was in July 2021 when half a month’s rain fell in just a few hours. Climate change has made such incidents more common. On 6 November 2022 another downpour occurred, coming within a few centimetres of causing a fifth episode of flooding. Needless to say, the disruption caused by flooding lasts many, many months, and the cost of repair (even if covered by insurance) is substantial.

The storm in November 2022 turned Wildwood Road into a raging torrent coursing from the Hampstead Way end down to the roundabout, at which point the torrent split into two with half continuing down Wildwood Road in the direction of Meadway, and the other half diverting into Kingsley Way. Fortunately, on that occasion the storm was sufficiently short-lived, such that flooding was avoided – but it was touch and go. The gullies (drains) all down Wildwood Road were completely overwhelmed and water was even emerging from some of the manholes. It was clear that there was no capacity available to divert the excessive water flow and very many houses in the area of the lower part of Wildwood Road and Kingsley Way were at serious risk of flooding. 

There is an urgent need to fix this situation before its inevitable recurrence. A system to divert the flow from the hilly part of Wildwood Road before it gets down to the roundabout is required. The flow is predominantly on the Heath side of the road, and the Heath itself is, for much of the length of the road, some six to twelve feet below the level of the road, so technically it should not be difficult to create such a diversion. On that side of the road there are no properties for much of the length of the road and there are some existing ditches running away from the road. There is also a pond at one point, halfway down the road some 50 metres away.

Barnet action (or lack of it)

Communication with The Barnet Highway Team over the last nine months has not been a productive exercise. It has been facilitated by Councillor Rohit Grover, but such response as has been received has suggested only that they are looking at building a number of new gullies. It is not clear how that would help when the water volume delivered to the main drainage system under the road is demonstrably incapable at present of coping with the inflow from the existing number of gullies. 

 It is not for the residents to dictate solutions to what is obviously a very complex problem, but there is a desperate need for communication, and for the residents to know that this issue is being taken seriously. How many more episodes of flooding have to occur before effective action is taken? 

 There will be an item on this issue on the agenda of the September meeting of the East Area Committee of Barnet Council. I have submitted a petition with the requisite number of signatures on it. Councillor Mike Mire is a member and would be supportive. The meeting is in public and concerned residents have the right to speak. The meeting will be on Tuesday 19 September at Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, NW4 4BQ, from 7.00pm till 8pm. Please come and add your support.

Related Articles: Climate Change | Flooding

Article created:17th September 2023    Last updated:21st September 2023