Author Archives: paulw94

December Update

A note from the Acting Chairman.

There seems to have been a lot happening of late, and this will get you bang up to date with what’s been happening.

Joining the HVRA

This is still planned to go ahead, but I shan’t be able to get anything underway until the New Year. At that point I will call a Zoom meeting for us to get together and decide things. As you know, we will invite Peter Cannon, HVRA Chair to become the Chairman of HVDIG too.

He has already taken a strong level of interest in our little group. Matt and I took Peter on a walk at the end of November to take him round the lower end of Hughenden Valley and introduce him to the risk areas that are prone to stream, surface water and sewage escapes.

Since then, I have made a start at the HVRA monthly meetings providing an update on our activities. In addition to getting our message more widely known, this does have the effect of people bringing action requests our way. One of these was from Peter himself who requested that we do what we could to get the road drains cleaned and jetted. Debs Lemon raised this hairy chestnut through the Fix My Street website; as yet no activity, but the leaf fall has really resulted in these drains being blocked.

For when we integrate with HVRA, we need to get some ideas of what we want to achieve. Do we keep calling ourselves HVDIG for instance, or do we become HVRA Drainage Improvement Group. To save money, we should move our web site over into the HVRA website. Do we reduce it down to something much smaller, perhaps to just 2-3 pages? I am not sure if the Blog is really worth doing as I think probably only a few people read it. If we integrate the web sites, it would be possible to use Facebook to publish our news – Hughenden has a Facebook group with a large number of members. If you get a chance let me know your thoughts.

Meeting with Jonathan Roberts TfB engineer

Debs and I met with Jonathan Roberts recently. Debs organised this following completion of the road drainage works and resurfacing in Valley Road. We discussed the issue that surface water emanating from further up Valley Road can sweep down and then up on the pavement on the London side of Valley Road at the bottom of Coombe Lane (Just by the green BT Box).  

This area of the pavement has a dropped kerb (for crossing the road to the village hall). This means for the moment, the pavement flooding which has blighted us for a long time continues. A possible solution for this is to install a grill across the dropped kerb which will capture surface water and channel it into the nearby road drain. We will discuss things further in the New Year.

Affinity Pumping Station

I recently approached Affinity Water to see whether they could clean and jet the culverts that run under the pumping station. My first few telephone calls only resulted in being told that it was a sewage issue and I needed to talk with Thames Water. After walking down to the pumping station I found that a faded sign on the wall of the building give a site no (263) and a telephone number to ring in emergency. After ringing that I was able to make contact with the Affinity Estates Dept, who look after the site. I’ve update the Advice page so we can easily make contact next time around. We wait to see if they do the work……

BRAVA Workshop

I contacted Darren Trenchard of Thames Water recently to ask a question about boreholes and stream flooding. He was very helpful and pointed me to a flooding website. The day after, the DIG received an invite from him to take part in a BRAVA workshop, which is an initial part of their DWMP. Pretty scary eh? What this turned out to be was a Baseline Risk & Vulnerability Assessment, a first stage in the building of TW’s Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan.

TW invited us to provide local knowledge on the flood risks in Hughenden Valley, as the meeting would seek to discuss areas in South Bucks like ours that have flooding issues. Prior to the meeting I developed a document mapping and describing our risks, I’ve attached this so you can take a peek.

Matt Hopkins and I attended this workshop this week; a large online session attended mostly by Thames Water, Bucks CC and Environment Agency professionals. TW talked about building their future sewage system for future decades and wanted local knowledge so that present issues are fully taken care of. Over a dozen risk areas were listed to be discussed but only a few were covered and with time running out, we were very fortunate in that Darren invited us to talk about Hughenden. I provided an introduction to the stream, surface water and sewage escapes we suffer from and Matt then followed up with more detail and a description of some of the technical aspects.

The important thing that came out of this meeting is that HVDIG will now be included in future stages of the development process in building the sewage system of the future. Can’t wait!

We’ve sent a copy of our risks document to Karen Fisher, Lead Flood Management Office for Bucks CC; she was in the meeting.

DEFRA Project

Matt has been contacted by Jed Ramsay, new Lead Flood Program Management Officer at Bucks CC. He is involved with a DEFRA project involving monitoring and reporting on groundwater flooding and has asked if the DIG might consider becoming involved as a partner. More detail will be provided in due course. For the moment the DIG has expressed interest.

Article Submitted for Hugh News Winter edition

The Hughenden Stream

The stream dried up quite quickly in its upper reaches during the course of this year. Despite this, it continues to flow merrily from Church Farm downwards and in the accompanying photograph is showing its face above the farm.

The course of the stream above Church Farm

A much earlier photograph taken in the same area is a nostalgic reminder of years gone by.

With the winter season approaching, who knows, it may continue to flow all winter.

Drainage and Other Stuff

The roadworks in the Village Hall area are complete. The final Valley Road section was carried out several weeks back when the road surfacing along from the Surgery to the Village Hall was done. Fortunately, all this work was carried out at night and so was not a major disruption to traffic. It was rather noisy considering we were trying to sleep, but the work was carried out brilliantly. On the morning after the final night’s work we even found that the white lining had been carried out in the dark. The new surface is quiet and has a specific camber aimed at helping the road drainage. Taking this with the additional drains that have been put in, the road is performing well at present. Further re-surfacing work on Coombe Lane should be completed well before this issue comes out.

We are aware from one period of heavy rainfall that water sweeping down from further up Valley Road can still result in a bad accumulation of water and detritus at the foot of Coombe Lane. We are following up with TfB on this point.   

Up on Warrendene Road it is good to see that the drainage ditch along its length has been cleared out, a neat job and very timely too, what with winter hard by.

 The Future of HVDIG

 The AGM took place on 30th September, an odd event given the COVID restrictions and also that David White, the Chair was resigning – with no successor in sight. We had foreseen that David’s resigning coupled with our being a small group would give us a dilemma for the future – how to continue?

In the event it was decided that we would approach the Residents Association to enquire about the possibility of aligning ourselves closer with the HVRA. That we did and our joining the HVRA has been agreed in principle at the HVRA committee meeting held on 3rd October.

Peter Cannon will be invited to become Chairman of HVDIG and once he has taken up the position we will look towards restructuring the DIG to fit more closely with HVRA.

AGM News & Update

AGM

We finally managed to hold the AGM on 30th September. As it was, the meeting was restricted to committee members only because of Covid, so not ideal.

With no successor to the retiring Chairman, and membership small in the last few years it was decided to investigate whether our future would be better served as part of the HVRA rather than a standalone (very small) organisation. We are currently looking into that.

Minutes of the AGM are on the Documents page.

Road Works et al

The final part of the ongoing roadworks in the Village Hall area are complete. The final road surfacing was completed some weeks ago, fortunately this work was all carried out at night and was not too disruptive. So far, the new surface is performing well from a drainage point of view.

However, it is apparent from one heavy period of rainfall that water sweeping down Valley Road from the Trees Avenue area can still result in a bad accumulation of water at the bottom of Coombe Lane. We will be following up with TfB on this point.

Up in Warrendene it is good to see that the drainage ditch along its length has been cleared out, a neat job and very timely too what with winter close by.

Thunderstorm hits the Valley

Following the very hot and humid weather, we have been hit by the inevitable storms over the last week. On Wednesday last, 12th August, we experienced a nasty storm in the late afternoon which produced a massive downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning.

This proved to be a test for the drainage improvements recently carried out in Valley Road near the village hall. In fairness, the works aren’t yet complete as Valley Road itself has to be re-laid with an altered camber to assist the drainage. In many respects the road drainage coped well.

However, as the pictures below show, the road was swamped at the foot of Coombe Lane, and in at least one instance, a garden was flooded. This has been reported to TfB, and a useful set of pictures of the road flooding has been provided which should help with planning any remedial work.

Road Works Nearing End

The Valley Road drainage works are nearing completion, with the Coombe Lane section only to be finished.

During last week there were concerns that Valley Road (with its new drains) became awash at one point – see pics below. However, we are assured by TfB that the gullies were likely working OK and that once the Coombe Lane section is completed and all new gullies jetted, that the whole system will perform well.

The final part of the roadworks will happen late July or August when the Valley Road will be resurfaced. This will alter the road camber and prevent accumulation of surface water on the road and also stop water cascading down onto the east side pavement.

Road Works Continuing

The road works providing the extra road drainage near the village hall are now about two weeks in and progressing well. On Valley Road itself this work is largely finished with extra drains inserted on the eastern side of the road and further drains being dug up Coombe Lane.

On Coombe Lane at the junction with Coombe Gardens an extra large soakaway has been created and this is still to be linked to the road drains.

Article Submitted for Hughenden News

The following article was submitted for the Summer edition:

The Hughenden Stream

Following the wet winter, we enjoyed a remarkably warm and dry spring. This has had one knock-on effect on the Hughenden Stream and that is that we enjoyed its flow for a relatively short period of time. In fairness as I write this, it continues to flow nicely down through the park, but in the upper reaches of the winterbourne it’s become a dry ditch in places.

As far as I am aware, the stream in the upper reaches only flowed from Boss Lane downwards. If we get a nice hot summer as has been predicted, then the stream in the park may dry sooner than expected, especially given also the recent lack of rain.

Drainage works in the valley

The long promised road drainage improvement works along Valley Road by the village hall have happened. Unfortunately, as we know these sorts of works inevitably cause traffic disruption, but can’t be helped unfortunately.

This work was primarily aimed at preventing road and property flooding and was the final part of a program of work that has been carried out over several years. This work included:

  • Introducing larger chambers to road drains at the foot of Coombe Lane
  • Diversion of water flows on Coombe Lane to make best use of several deep chambered drains to hold back flows in big downpours.
  • Clearing and jetting of ditches and piped areas leading down to the pumping station.

Water runoff from the road

It is not uncommon in the village hall area of Valley Road for owners to take action to modify their drive entrances to prevent the ingress of water from the road or pavement onto their properties. They should not really be obliged to do this; rather it is the council’s responsibility to prevent  water from the road entering house owners’ properties. If you suffer from this problem along Valley Road, please drop an email to the DIG to let us know about it.

Road Works and The Stream

Road Works

On Monday 22nd June, the long predicted roadworks in Valley Road near the village hall started taking shape with the arrival of men and equipment. Unfortunately, this work will cause traffic problems because of the inevitable 3-way traffic control system, and will no doubt last a few days.

This work is primarily aimed at preventing road and property flooding and is the final part of a program of work that has been carried out over several years. This work includes:

  • Introducing larger chambers to road drains at the foot of Coombe Lane
  • Diversion of water flows on Coombe Lane to make best use of several deep chambered drains to hold back flows in big downpours.
  • Clearing and jetting of ditches and piped areas leading down to the pumping station.

The Stream

The stream continues to dry, although is still running merrily from the pumping station down through Church Farm and on into the Park. It’s dry in Boss Lane, and I don’t think reached any higher than that this year.

AGM & Other News

AGM matters

In light of the Coronavirus situation it has been decided to postpone the AGM until September at the earliest. The work on preparing and auditing the accounts will be done meanwhile; Bob Hawkins has kindly agreed to do the accounts again and we will submit all documentation via email.

New Committee Member

Debs Lemon has been added as a member of the DIG committee.

Jonathan the Engineer

Jonathan Roberts, our friendly and supportive TFB engineer has been seen in the Valley over the last week. I approached him to find out the latest.

He was just doing a few checks on the state of the drains (including sticking his head down the inspection pit in the grass outside the village hall). I had wondered if we had a problem there but apparently not, just some silt, and he said that it would all be blown through when they came to do the promised work on boosting the drainage system that has been planned for some time now.

He expects this work to be done July/August now, so we’ll see.

The Stream

Well, no sooner had we got all excited about seeing the stream running through our gardens than it’s all started drying up!

Fortunately, it continues to run through the fields below the pumping station and, of course, through the park. North of the pumping station it will soon become just a muddy mess, but it has been a joy to experience it for a month or two. If anyone has a photo of it, send it in and we will add it to the website.

Latest Flooding Alert from EA

Flood alert

Areas affected: Groundwater flooding in the High Wycombe area

ACTIVE

Started at: 09:22 BST on Wed 29 April

Flooding is possible – be prepared

Groundwater levels are high at our Piddington observation borehole near High Wycombe. Groundwater has reached a level where communities – particularly those near Radnage and in the Hughenden Valley – could be affected within weeks by flooding from groundwater. However, due to the recent drier conditions, groundwater levels have continued to drop over the last week. Levels at the Piddington observation borehole are below the level where we would expect to see flooding impacts but there may be locations where groundwater is flooding at the surface. Low-lying land and roads would be at risk of flooding first. Due to the nature of groundwater behaviour, this situation could continue for several weeks or longer dependent on rainfall conditions. The weather forecast is for an unsettled week (29 April to 5 May 2020) with potentially heavy showers at times. We continue to monitor groundwater levels and will update this message next week by 6 May 2020, or as the situation changes.

Issued at: 09:22 BST on Wed 29 April

Issued by: The Environment Agency