Bob Walter MPRobert Walter MP (North Dorset) is to visit Sixpenny Handley in East Dorset to find out how residents and local authorities have been coping with the challenge of ground water flooding.

At the invitation of District Councillor and Deputy EDDC Leader, Simon Tong, and local flood warden and Parish Council Chairman, David Lockyer, Bob will visit the village of Sixpenny Handley on Friday 28 February at 3pm to see for himself the impact of groundwater flooding on the area; speak to affected local residents; and find out how effectively flooding and flood risk has been managed there.

Firstly, Bob will take a tour of some key points along the upper River Allen. He’ll then head back to the home of David Lockyer, where he’ll meet with Dorset County Councillor for Cranborne Chase, Cllr Steve Butler, East Dorset District Councillor for Handley Vale, Cllr Simon Tong, Clerk to Sixpenny Handley with Pentridge and Knowlton and Holt Parish Councils, Lisa Goodwin, affected parish councillors and several householders with vulnerable properties on Dean, Frogmore and Back Lanes. The latter residents all live in properties listed and prioritised in the Christchurch & East Dorset District Council emergency plan as “vulnerable to flooding” when ground water levels are high.

Topics under discussion will be the need for all responsible agencies and the local community to take a collaborative approach; the Environment Agency and Government Policy; and the village’s foul water and surface water drainage problems.

Bob Walter MP said: “Where flooding is an issue, it’s important for to see firsthand what problems local people have been dealing with and how effectively they’ve been managed, so I’m grateful to Simon and David for arranging this opportunity. Flooding can obviously vary in its root causes, but I’m convinced some of the pleas at Handley will reflect others I’ve heard elsewhere: more joint working across the responsible agencies and better long term river management.

“The latest information from the EA suggests groundwater levels in the village and across the wider Cranborne Chase remain high. A flood alert is expected to remain in force for at least the next couple of weeks, so the risk for local residents there remains.”

Simon Tong, District Councillor for Handley Vale, and Parish Council Chairman and Local Flood Warden David Locke said: “The District Council and the Parish Council have worked closely together throughout the crisis. They have shown how local communities and councils can really help to alleviate some of the dreadful hardship and anxiety which these events cause to residents. We’re delighted to welcome Bob to Sixpenny Handley to see firsthand how tough it’s been there and how well the community is rising to the continuing challenges of the past weeks and months. But the real challenge lies ahead, as we encourage all responsible bodies to work much more closely together in the future.”

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