A series of engineering projects have been commissioned to improve how flood waters are controlled in Thatcham.
There are a number of ways to do this:
- Create ponds/basins to store the excess water
- Construct embankments to control the flow of water into strategically located areas
The Thatcham Flood Forum is involved in monitoring these projects and ensuring residents are aware of the work. This page explains some of the water management features.
The projects combine together to increase the protection for Thatcham.
An action plan has been produced that will help reduce the risk of future floods.
There are a number of future projects that are being discussed. If implemented these projects would reduce the risk of future flooding.
When new projects are initiated the local community needs to raise a contribution. This contribution unlocks funding from external organisations/government bodies.
A design for a pond at Cold Ash was initiated in 2011 with a detailed design and associated documents produced in early 2012. This secured funding from the Environment Agency and allowed us to apply for a grant from West Berkshire Council. Planning permission was then applied for and granted in 2013 and construction completed by end of 2014.
The ponds are NOT intended to hold water permanently but only to temporarily hold back exceptional volumes from surface run-off, which the drainage system cannot immediately cope with. The ponds will then release the stored water into the existing system over a longer period, thereby allowing time for better management of these exceptional volumes. For the vast majority of time the ponds will be “green” and fit within the landscape. Anyone concerned is asked to view the attenuation pond on the west of Pipers Way on the road to Thatcham Station; or the bund which has been constructed to protect Bucklebury village.
Cold Ash Gallery
The project, funded by Government grant through the Environment Agency together with contributions from West Berkshire Council and Thatcham Town Council, has provided a large earth embankment to the north of Tull Way to retain flood water from the land to the north and an outlet structure to control the rate of flow into the existing surface water sewer.
In 2010, West Berkshire Council, in conjunction with the Environment Agency and Thames Water completed a ‘Surface Water Management Plan for Thatcham’ (SWMP) as one of six pilot studies, part funded by Defra.
The SWMP identified a strategy which comprised a series of detention basins or ‘reservoirs’ that are designed to store flood water and then release it at a controlled rate into the surface water sewers under Thatcham to prevent them becoming overwhelmed.
Tull Way Gallery
Tull Way handling the Storm Brendan flow (14th January 2020)
Storm Brendan resulted in heavy overnight rainfall on 14th January 2020. The Tully Way flood defence reservoir was completed in 2018 and was designed to handle heavy water flows like this.
It impounded over two metres depth of flood water and prevented numerous properties in the Florence Gardens and Bowling Green Road area of Thatcham being flooded.
The Tull Way flood defence allowed the optimum amount of water into the areas drainage system and held back the surplus water. This surplus water was then discharged into the drainage system in a controlled flow.
Florence Gardens’ drainage system operating at full capacity.
The Dunstan Park scheme will protect 512 houses and is being implemented north of Floral Way.
It involves constructing a basin and an embankment.
This will control the main flood routes by slowing the release of water from the basin.
There are several other flood routes to the south which still leave south east Thatcham vulnerable to flooding. The surplus excavated material from the Dunston Park scheme will be used to construct the embankments for the South East Thatcham flood scheme.
Summer 2019 update
The work is going on to build the storage area for the water. This will slow the flow of water of there is heavy rainfall in the future.
The South East Thatcham scheme extends the flood defenses in the south of Thatcham.
The proposed South East Thatcham scheme is designed to manage these remaining overland flood routes by constructing strategically located embankments at Dunstan Green, the Francis Baily and Kennet School grounds and public park area. The embankments will vary in height from 0.5m to 1.0m and will include a length of flood wall 0.5m to 1m high with control structures. This will protect an additional 62 houses.
A shallow swale 0.5m deep is proposed within the school grounds to collect and direct flood water through the control structures.
Some improvements will be made at Harts Hill Road to divert water from the roads into the Dunstan Green park area.
The surplus excavated material from the Dunstan Park scheme will be used to construct the embankments for the South East Thatcham flood scheme.
This will lead to some disruption as the earth is transported between the locations.
Summer 2019 Update
Earth is being moved from Dunstan Park to the playing fields for the embankments there. These will form a series of areas that will temporarily contain water to ensure that the drainage system can cope with the water flow.