Sussex

Calls for new drains after flash floods hit Uckfield

Uckfield, East Sussex
Image caption The town suffered a similar flash flood in 2007 when drains overflowed

Businesses and councillors in a Sussex town are calling for improved drainage systems after flash floods devastated shops and pubs in the area.

Around an inch (2.5cm) of rain fell in an hour on Wednesday afternoon causing the drains in Uckfield to overflow.

The Cock and Bull pub in the High Street is closed and a number of shops, including Peacocks, are also affected.

The town, which was devastated by floods in 2000, also suffered similar problems caused by its drains in 2007.

John Carvey, chairman of Uckfield Town Council, said: "There's so much rain, it builds up, and it just comes down the High Street from both directions like an alpine stream does when the snows are melting.

"It just flows straight over the drains and comes and settles here at the bottom in the middle of the town.

"We need some form of drainage here to take the water away because it can actually happen if the rain is not even as heavy as that."

He added: "In this time and age I don't know where the money is going to come from."

Last year the Environment Agency built a flood wall to protect properties in Uckfield, which has been hit by major floods nine times since the 1960s.

One of the worst affected businesses has been the Cock and Bull pub. A sign in the window reads: "Closed due to flooding and repair work".

Chairs and other furniture are piled up on top of tables and sandbags are laid across the doors.

Assistant manager Kieran Meehan said: "It's very, very frustrating and when you think of the amount of money it's going to cost us to get it all fixed up and the amount of revenue we're going to lose and the amount of time and effort.

"It is frustrating because I'm sure there is some way they can sort the problem out because they spend all the money on the defences over there on the river but its the drains that are the problem.

"We're part of a big chain so we will be all right in the long run but there are independent traders in the town that the town needs, at the end of the day, who have got nothing. They can't get insurance anyway. It's just one big shame."

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