Due to severe flooding in the Croydon area, Purley Cross pedestrian underpass has been deliberately filled with floodwater after an overflowing pond started spilling onto Brighton Road.
The subway is acting as a secondary “balancing” pool after a pond on Riddlesdown Road breached overnight. Council leader Mike Fisher said: “This has not been an easy decision to take but it has become increasingly clear over the past few hours that we have no alternative if we are to protect people’s homes and businesses from being flooded.”
The decision to flood the underpass was made by the major incident Gold Command team, comprising of council representatives, the Environment Agency, emergency services, Thames Water and Travel for London.
Croydon Council have been combatting the flooding since last Thursday, with officers working round-the-clock to pump and divert water away from residential areas and to protect the water treatment works on Godstone Road in Kenley.
Teresa Healy, a resident of Kenley, said: “It’s nature and you can’t always control or predict these things. I think they’ve done a fantastic job at the waterworks in Kenley, however I do think they should dredge the river, that might help.”
Chantel McDonald, who lives opposite the Godstone Road water plant, said: “It’s been hard moving around because of the weather and traffic but at least the trains have been running. The relief teams deserve a lot of credit. They’ve been working around the clock but the concern is the weather. It keeps getting worse.”
Hundreds of sandbags have been laid to protect the water plant, water levels are being closely monitored and drainage channels are being constantly cleared. Local residents and businesses potentially affected by the rising water levels have been visited by council teams and advised to be prepared.
Check the Environment Agency website for current information.