Fears floods could be “taste of things to come” as residents call for improved drainage

By James Mayer, Local Democracy Reporter

Families fear yesterday’s London floods are “a taste for things to come” after torrential rain and thunderstorms caused chaos across the capital.

The flooding saw a car trapped, buses flooded and businesses being forced to close, as Battersea’s Queenstown Road was turned into a “canal”.

Now, residents are calling on better drainage and pumps to be ready to remove water from flooded sites.

Maria Tironi, 28, of Queenstown Road, said: “It was raining and then the police came and closed the road from the traffic lights all the way down. And then there was flooding in the street and a car was trapped.”

Madeline Heath, 52, who was visiting her sister from Kent, said: “I came out of Queenstown Road station, and the entire bend and the whole of Queenstown Road was a canal – it was at least three feet of water.

“The buses were flooded, it was all in the bottom deck of the buses, the coaches were stopped, it was madness.

“All my life I’ve lived in this area, never seen anything like it before.”

“If you can see water like that gathering in the space of one hour, then yeah it’s worrying.

“If it had carried on for a little bit longer, it would have been over the pavements on Queenstown Road and into the actual houses.

“If it’s going to happen in areas like that, concentrate on your drainage, have a contingency plan, have pumps ready. It’s a taste of things to come.”

But 84-year-old resident Brad Davis said he isn’t concerned about the flooding, he said: “I mean, come on, I’ve been through the Second World War as a kid, you know what I mean – it’s nothing.”

Enrique Cabanas, Rental Sales Agent at Sixt Rent a Car in Queenstown Road, said: “Basically they closed Queenstown Road and we couldn’t get any cars out so we had to postpone the bookings to today.

Resident, Justine Bezuidenhout, 49, said: “Clearly the drainage is not enough, I have noticed little drains.”

“Obviously, weather events are getting worse so government or local government needs to take that into account, and they need to be prepared for things, because we knew it was coming.”

A Wandsworth council spokesman said: “Our clean-up crews were out yesterday and again today to deal with the aftermath of the floods and to help residents where we can.

“What is now urgently needed is for Thames Water to meet its obligations and take urgent action in places like Battersea and Nine Elms where there is a well-known and long discussed lack of sewer capacity able to cope with sudden and prolonged downpours.

“Basements in homes in and shops, especially in and around the Queenstown Road area, need to see concerted efforts by the water company to tackle this issue, expand sewer capacity and minimise the chances of this happening again.”

Pictured top: Brad Davis

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