Don’t panic, park flooding is normal say the experts

Gadebridge Park flooding January 2013.
Gadebridge Park flooding January 2013.

Fears are growing that flooding in Gadebridge Park could have long term impacts on the environment.

Water that has already swamped a children’s play area has now reached Hemel Hempstead’s Bowls Club forcing members to put out sandbags.

But experts from the Environment Agency claim it is nothing out of the ordinary.

Flood and coastal risk management team leader Lee James said: “Flooding at the park is nothing out of the ordinary considering the recent wet weather. The river banks are very low so the river frequently comes out of its banks in the park area.

“The river is also slightly perched so any flood water cannot easily drain back into the channel, giving the appearance that the park is flooded for long periods of time. It is important to note that no properties are at risk from this flooding.”

However, Dacorum Borough Council has called in experts from the agency to take a look at the problem.

Council parks officer Rob Cassidy said: “We met with the Environment Agency recently to discuss our concerns about the flooding and we will be working with them to find a solution. We are concerned by the flooding as it is affecting the way that the park can be used.

“Short-term flooding during the winter season is unlikely to harm mature trees.

“Longer term flooding that extends into the growing season can affect soil conditions and cause the decline or death of mature trees.”

Retired engineer Robert Fowler, who has lived in the town for 60 years, says it is the worst flooding he has seen in the park.

The regular park user, from Adeyfield, said: “I have never seen the park like that.

“I think you could get root rot if it goes on too long. I think the grass will totally die off.

“I think there is going to be long-term damage to the park unless something is done.”

The council said it has not received any complaints about the park flooding.