Nursery owner critical of authorities after repeated flooding

WATER EVERYWHERE: Paul Cook at Hanging Gardens Nursery

WATER EVERYWHERE: Paul Cook at Hanging Gardens Nursery

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BUSINESS owner whose venture has been swamped with water seven times in the last two years has criticised action by the authorities to alleviate flooding.

Hanging Gardens Nursery, which is next to the A352 at Winfrith Newburgh, has been devastated by flooding numerous times.

After the latest deluge, Paul Cook, who runs the nursery with wife Frances, said water began trickling into the shop last weekend and that it was now also reaching their home.

He added: “The flooding completely ruined our business last year because people believed we were still shut in June.

“I am getting completely fed up with this. It’s not my responsibility but when I have had to tackle flooding myself in the past it cost me almost £5,000 and nearly bankrupt the business.”

Mr Cook’s son Matt called for something to be done in 2012 because he wasn’t sure how his elderly parents would cope.

Paul Cook added: “The flooding this time marks the seventh time in two years and the water level is now reaching the top of my wellies.

“I have chickens here which luckily are on a higher piece of land and cats too.

“After the shop flooded five times in 2012 we decided to run the business on a smaller scale but I’m not sure how many more times we can deal with this.

“Something needs to be done, I accept we are on low ground level but this is just ridiculous – how can I run my business this way?”

Brian Richards, flood risk manager at Dorset County Council, said the council was aware of the problem and was trying to help.

He added: “The specific area is vulnerable to flooding from the opposite south side of the A352 due to low lying ground levels.

“When water levels build up in the field to the south the water finds its way under or across the road and into the site. A sustainable solution is not obvious but we are trying to discount any other factors, and as part of this exercise we asked Wessex Water to take a look at a pipeline trench running along the field to eliminate it from our investigations.

“Dorset Highways did carry out extensive maintenance works in 2012 to try and alleviate the issue.”

A spokeswoman for Wessex Water said: “Surface water runoff in the area has caused local flooding.

“While water and sewerage services in the area are operating as they should do, we have offered to carry out some work near our sewer main in farm land which will support flood alleviation work carried out by the council, and further improve the situation.”

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