Monday, 25 September 2017

...and he blames water firm for floods

ANTONY Worrall Thompson says he moved back to the Henley area because it is where he belongs.

ANTONY Worrall Thompson says he moved back to the Henley area because it is where he belongs.

The TV chef moved from his £1.6 million home in Harpsden Woods, Shiplake, to rent a property in Cadmore End three years ago.

But the 61-year-old and his wife Jay and two children moved to Playhatch last year so they could be closer to Henley.

Worrall Thompson said: “We were only renting in the first place while we looked for a house we liked, which we eventually found.

“We only moved out because we were looking for a site for an ecohouse but there was nothing available locally so we decided to buy instead.

“My family have lived in the Shiplake area since 1888 so we’re not exactly newcomers to the area. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid.”

The former Ready Steady Cook star, who runs the Greyhound pub in Peppard, said he loved Henley and it was an ideal spot to walk his dogs.

He said: “I just think it’s a beautiful town, particularly the riverside. Structurally, it’s a great environment and we have a lot of friends in the area.

“I’ve always loved it here and I never intended to move away.”

Since he moved to Playhatch, Worrall Thompson has been caught in the middle of flooding in the area.

Twice last month, Playhatch Road was closed for several days and the Flowing Spring pub’s car park was submerged as the Thames broke its banks.

There were also reports of homes being flooded with raw sewage.

David Woodward, chairman of Eye and Dunsden Parish Council and a member of Sonning Eye Action Group, said a number of residents had blamed Lafarge for extracting gravel in Sonning and replacing it with clay.

He said: “By replacing the gravel with a clay lined hole, the water couldn’t get away because it acts like a plug.”

Some residents had also blamed the Caversham Lakes but Worrall Thompson said it was the fault of Thames Water pumping station in Henley Road.

He said: “It wasn’t an act of God, it was an act of stupidity. The pumping station is not working sufficiently - it forces water back down the sewers and the station can’t cope.

“From what I understand it’s a mess. As soon as the tankers are working it’s fine. As soon as they turn them off it comes back up again.

“I don’t feel the lakes have anything to do with it because that creates a bigger flood plain if anything. If you dig a hole there’s more space for the water to go.”

Worrall Thompson said the sewage flooding also posed dangers to residents.

“It’s a health hazard to pets and kids. It’s just mucky and people are bringing it indoors with them. It’s nowhere near my house, it’s just getting to the house which creates a problem.”

Thames Water said it will be spending about £350 million on schemes across the Thames Valley to prevent future flooding.

A spokesman said: “There will be new and larger sewers built, with underground storage facilities and individual defences for homes.”

A Lafarge spokeswoman said Sonning had always been vulnerable to flooding since the company began excavating in the Fifties because it was in the flood plain of the Thames.

She said: “Our current extraction operations on the Sonning Triangle have created a void which is actually providing additional flood storage capacity for the local areas.”



ends

ANTONY WORRALL THOMPSON has blamed Thames Water for the flooding in Playhatch, where he now lives.

Twice last month, Playhatch Road was closed for several days after the Thames broke its banks following days of repeated rainfall.

The gardens of some homes in Playhatch were flooded with raw sewage after water got into the sewers, which backed up and then emptied themselves.

Some residents have blamed gravel extraction in nearby Sonning for the problem but Worrall Thompson insisted the problem was caused by the Thames Water pumping station in Henley Road.

He said: “It wasn’t an act of God, it was an act of stupidity. The pumping station is not working sufficiently — it forces water back down the sewers and the station can’t cope. From what I understand it’s a mess. As soon as the tankers are working it’s fine. As soon as they turn them off, it comes back up again.

“I don’t feel the lakes have anything to do with it because that creates a bigger flood plain if anything. If you dig a hole there’s more space for the water to go.”

Worrall Thompson said the sewage was a health hazard for pets and children, adding: “It’s just mucky and people are bringing it indoors with them.”

The chef moved to Playhatch with his wife Jay and two children last year so they could be closer to Henley.

Three years ago, he moved from his £1.6million home in Harpsden Woods, Shiplake, to rent a property in Cadmore End, near Lane End.

Worrall Thompson said: “We only moved because we were looking for a site for an ecohouse but there was nothing available locally so we decided to buy instead.My family have lived in the Shiplake area since 1888 so we’re not exactly newcomers to the area.”

He said he loved Henley and it was an ideal spot to walk his dogs.

Worrall Thompson said: “I just think it’s a beautiful town, particularly the riverside, and we have a lot of friends in the area. I’ve always loved it here and I never intended to move away.”

Thames Water has blamed the unusually wet weather for the problems in Playhatch.

A spokeswoman said: “After the wettest year on record, the ground is sodden, like a soaked sponge.

“Flood water is continuing to run across the surface and into our sewers, which are designed to take waste water from homes and businesses, not rivers and streams that have burst their banks.”

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