VIDEO: Floods cause misery for Amberley neighbours

Amberley neighbours say their Christmas was ‘ruined’ by weeks of flooding caused by a blocked culvert - where a workman’s misplaced bag and bucket has since been found.

The village’s residents have suffered through a ‘stressful’ ordeal as tons and tons of water was pumped onto School Road in Amberley from a garden.

JPCT 020114 S14020143x Amberley residents suffer days of flooding -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 020114 S14020143x Amberley residents suffer days of flooding -photo by Steve Cobb

Geoff and Sandie Conlon, and their neighbour Sue Wood, told the County Times they were unable to leave their homes unattended over the Christmas period due to a blocked culvert situated under the road opposite their homes.

“We haven’t been able to enjoy Christmas or New Year at all,” said Mrs Wood, the owner of Amberley Village Tea Room.

“2013 will not be forgotten,” added Mrs Conlon.

On December 21, a stream that runs through the Conlons’ garden began to flood after a bout of heavy rainfall.

Amberley flood

Amberley flood

The stream, which flows into the River Arun, runs beneath School Road where a Victorian culvert is located.

The neighbours originally believed the old structure had collapsed, but on Tuesday December 7 West Sussex County Council confirmed that a ‘builder’s bucket and bag was found in the culvert’ causing the blockage.

Last year, the council visited the site as part of their ‘Operation Watershed’ scheme, an £8.25 million investment in highway drainage.

Mr Conlon claimed he warned the council that the stream is a pinch point. Using a camera, he said the council inspected below the road and detected loose bricks.

“I asked them ‘what are we going to do?’ They said ‘don’t know’ - they went away and that was the last we heard.”

As a result of the flood, the Conlons were unable to spend Christmas with their grandchildren in Suffolk, and could not offer their annex for holiday accommodation over the festive period.

On December 23, the Highways Agency began pumping water from the stream in the Conlons’ garden, and continued for more than two weeks.

Next door to the Conlons, the Grade II listed Amberley Village Tea Room, run by Mrs Wood, experienced severe flooding, which she said had damaged stock and postponed a kitchen refurbishment.

“I’m having building work done so I had stored the whole of the Tea Room on the ground floor where the water came in,” said Mrs Wood.

School Road was dug up by the council to retrieve the bag, bucket, a lump of concrete and other debris from the culvert.

Mrs Wood said School Road has been resealed, but remains closed to the public whilst the cement dries.

It has not been confirmed where the bucket and bag came from.