‘Worse than last year’: Schools and homes flooded by summer storm

Two separate flood warnings were issued for the borough last night
By Victoria Munro

Flooding in Walthamstow last night (credit: Sophie Wilson)
Flooding in Walthamstow last night (credit: Sophie Wilson)

Torrential downpour last night saw yet another summer flash flood in Waltham Forest, with two separate flood warnings issued for the borough.

The Government issued warnings for Ching Brook, which travels through Chingford and Highams Park, and the lower River Lee, which passes through Walthamstow. Both warnings are no longer active.

At least three local schools – St Mary’s Primary School, Leytonstone School and Heathcote School – were flooded and many roads became impassable, with some readers reporting that electric buses broke down while trying to drive through floodwater.

Last July, a similar storm saw numerous homes across the borough filled with “knee-high” water and a power outage at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Flooding in Walthamstow (credit: Jennifer Damant)

Walthamstow resident Andrew Kinnear told the Echo his kitchen “filled with sewage” after only two hours of rain.

He said: “It’s worse than last year. A neighbour was telling us she’s lived in her house for 40 years and not had drains back-flowing like we’ve had these last two years. So what’s changed?

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“The council claims everything is fine and the drains are clear, Thames Water say there’s nothing they can do, and yet my kitchen is still covered in sewage.

“I’m not getting flooded by water from my gutters. If it we’re just that I could deal with it myself. I’m getting flooded by sewage flowing out of the manhole.”

Earlier this year, after widespread criticism for what residents believed was insufficient drain maintenance, Waltham Forest Council released an investigation into last summer’s flood, which concluded it was not made worse by any issues with the drains.

The Ching Brook quickly overflowed (credit: Sinead Morgan)

Following the original publication of this article, deputy leader Cllr Ahsan Khan told the Echo he had visited Wood Street and “saw for myself the damage that flooding causes”.

He said: “Residents and business owners were rightfully extremely worried, and I want to thank everyone who came to the aid of friends and neighbours whose property or health was at risk.

“Following last year’s extreme weather, we have proactively taken steps to install urban drainage systems and rain gardens to alleviate the effects of extreme weather and we will continue to work to identify places where these measures may help protect residents.

“Council officers have worked closely with Thames Water colleagues following the severe weather. We have visited over 40 areas affected by flooding as part of the effort to assist hundreds of residents during an emergency situation.”

The council contributed a quarter of a million towards a “sustainable urban drainage system” in Brooke Road and the surrounding area in Walthamstow – one of the worst hit parts of the borough last year.

If you were affected by last night’s flood, get in touch by emailing [email protected] or messaging 07917 517414.

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