Friday, 24 September 2021

Villagers clear brook to minimise flood risk

ALMOST 40 villagers in Benson cleared overgrown vegetation from a brook to help minimise the risk of it flooding.

ALMOST 40 villagers in Benson cleared overgrown vegetation from a brook to help minimise the risk of it flooding.

The watercourse was affected after heavy rainfall in the first quarter of last year and the Benson Flood Alleviation Group was formed.

Rob Workman, a parish councillor and Brook Street resident, said: “We had a bit of flooding of front gardens and we realised there was an issue with maintenance of the brook.

“There were two properties further up Brook Street where if it had rained much more they would have flooded. If this work isn’t done I think for sure there’s a high likelihood they could have flooded.

“The Environment Agency came and helped us last year and identified where there were potential flooding issues so really we just picked up the work from there. Last year we had about 20 people come and help and this year we have doubled that. It’s trying to get people to take ownership of the maintenance. Hopefully we’ll be doing it yearly from now on.”

Volunteers cleared the brook on Saturday from The Cedars, along Brook Street, down Old London Road and behind the Mill Stream Surgery collecting a skip full of green waste.

“That was predominantly the area where the Environment Agency said these are the areas you need to keep clear’,” he added. “It’s vegetation that’s growing on the beds, cutting that back, and along the bank and just ensuring there’s free passage of water flow.”

Cllr Workman said he was pleased with the turnout and afterwards volunteers enjoyed cakes and sandwiches. The Environment Agency says that people who own a property alongside a watercourse are riparian owners, whose duty is to maintain the river beds and banks.

Meanwhile, a fund-raising craft fair will be held on Saturday, October 31 from 10.30am until 4pm in Benson parish hall. It has been organised by Hazel and Bill Pattison, who are both trustees of the Pathway Workshop in Oxford.

Mrs Pattison also sells knitted tortoises to raise money for charities including the Pathway Workshop as well as Wallingford Toy Library and Henley’s Chiltern Centre for disabled children.

There will be also be a variety of stalls and a pig roast will be available on the day. Any profits made from the event will go to the charities.

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