UPDATE: Croydon council forced to flood church car park, schools closed and firefighters evacuate elderly people

Flooding in Purley underpass. Pic: Rowen De Souza

Flooding in Purley underpass. Pic: Rowen De Souza

Croydon council has been forced to use a car park and a school field to hold excess ground water as flooding in Kenley and Purley continues to worsen.

The flooded sites are the car park at St John the Baptist Catholic Church, Dale Road, and the school field alongside the Harris Primary Academy, Kenley, which is currently closed.

This decision has come just days after the council’s major incident Gold Command team decided to convert Purley Cross pedestrian underpass into a pond.

Councillor Mike Fisher, leader of the council, said: “We are in a critical situation and this means having to make extremely difficult but necessary decisions. If we don’t act now hundreds of homes in the area could be flooded and we are trying to stop that from happening.”

“Many teams from across the council, emergency services and local water companies continue to work around the clock to help Croydon stay on top of things, and I’d like to thank them all for the tremendous collective response to hold the waters at bay, protect property and keep people safe from harm.”

The Environment Agency has predicted periods of heavy rain that will lash the south of England on Wednesday and Friday. However, authorities hope that the ‘balancing’ ponds will help to manage the fast rising water levels and ease pressure on the water system.

Relief teams have been working through the night since Friday evening to install flood barriers in an effort to protect over 400 vulnerable homes and businesses by diverting thousands of litres of water away from them.

Flooding in Purley. Pic: Rowen De Souza

Flooding in Purley. Pic: Rowen De Souza

Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Stormy weather will continue to threaten communities this week, with further flooding expected.”

“Our hearts and sincere sympathy go out to those who have already experienced flooding. Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect lives, homes, businesses, communities and farmland over the coming days.”

River levels are high across southwest, central and southern England, and further rain has the potential to cause significant flooding. Visit the Environment Agency website for more up-to-date information.

UPDATE Monday 17 February

Businesses in Kenley along Station Approach and Godstone Road are open as normal.

Traffic – Avoid Kenley and Whyteleafe due to localised flooding as side roads surrounding Godstone Road are now closed. See Croydon Council’s map of the affected roads.

The highlighted roads are likely to be closed to non-residents. Residents with proof of address may have restricted access depending on works carried out by the emergency and utility services.

Flood defences –  The pedestrian underpass at Purley Cross gyratory system has been flooded to protect properties in the Kenley and Purley area from flooding.

UPDATE 11.42am on Thursday 13 February

As water had reached the steps of the internal staircase, firefighters evacuated nine elderly people out of the ground, first and second floors

Schools – Harris Primary Academy Kenley remains closed, other schools will provide updates on their websites.

Traffic – According to BBC News Travel, A22 Purley Road both ways closed, queueing traffic due to flooding between A23 Banstead Road (Purley Cross) and B2208 Croydon Road (Wapses Lodge Roundabout), congestion on A23 Brighton Road to B2030 The Drive. Also affecting Foxley Hill Road between A22 Godstone Road and Higher Drive / Olden Lane Foxley Hill Road has been closed to protect the pumping equipment. Causing queues in the area. No access from Down Courts Road to Purley Cross. Diversion: Bus routes 407, 412 and 434 are on diversion.

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