Seaton seeks solutions to flooding problems

Severe flooding problems in Seaton will be discussed at a public meeting next week, when residents will talk to representatives of South West Water, the Environment Agency and the county council. 

Philippa Davies

The Seaton Flood Working Group comprises a group of residents and business owners whose properties flooded last October. They are holding a meeting on Tuesday, April 26 at 6.30pm at Seaton Methodist Church, to hear what action is being taken to reduce the flood risk.

On the night of October 20 2021, torrential rain continued for about five hours, and watercourses and drainage systems were unable to cope with the volume of water.  At least 31 homes and businesses were flooded; others escaped the worst of it, but still had flooding to their garages, outbuildings and gardens. 

Flooding in Scalwell Lane, Seaton, October 2021 – Credit: Seaton Flood Working Group

The county council’s report on the flooding showed that Seaton was the second worst affected area in Devon, second only to Axminster. The report said the amount of rainfall ‘led to multiple watercourses overtopping at the allotments on Barnards Hill Lane, adjacent to the cricket club on Valley View and at the junction between Harepath Road and Valley View. The combination of these overtopping watercourses along with surface water runoff from neighbouring roads caused substantial amounts of water to reach lower lying areas of Seaton during peak flows particularly affecting Mead Way, Valley View and Summersby Close where at least five properties, a hospital and a primary school internally flooded by up to 100mm’.

Flooding at a house in Colyford Road, Seaton, October 2021 – Credit: Seaton Flood Working Group

Residents learned the importance of reporting these incidents when they met a customer service team from South West Water who came to Seaton in February. They were told that people who had not reported their flooding problems were ‘effectively invisible’ to both the water company and the county council, and that the Environment Agency also encourages reporting to help improve its flood mapping and modelling. Following this information, many more reports and photos of flooding at homes and businesses were sent to the three organisations. 

Doorway of flooded house in Seaton, October 2021 – Credit: Seaton Flood Working Group

During the meeting on April 26 the working group will hear from representatives of Devon County Council on highways, planning and land drainage issues; from South West Water on surface water and sewerage, and from the Environment Agency on its management of the rivers Axe and Lim’s catchment areas, including natural watercourses, soil erosion and farming-related issues.  

The meeting is open to the public, and people can also email questions relating directly to flooding in Seaton to, or post them on the group’s Facebook page, to be raised with the three organisations being represented. Seaton Methodist Church has disabled access and audio loop facilities.