Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TJRFC badly damaged by floods....

More bad news on the flooding in Tonbridge. The Juddians Rugby Club has some serious damage. As an ex player for the club this news is heart breaking on so many levels. The TJs have been riding high in recent years having spent money on players, equipment and, not least a new clubhouse. Anyone who's seen it may have noticed that the building is raised up, almost as if on stilts, so I was amazed this morning to hear one of the guys at the club tell me how bad the damage has been. The figure of £150,000 was being talked about. Now presumably the insurance will take care of much of that but, nevertheless, it's still a massive headache for all concerned. The pitches will drain and be playable after a few weeks but the clubhouse has to be in working order and hygienic otherwise there will be no more home games for this season. Again it raises the question of whether the floods were just a natural disaster or was there indeed a fault with the flood barrier. Tonbridge Blog has heard various rumours and it should be stressed that they are just that, rumours with perhaps some grounding in fact. Firstly there's the theory that the Leigh barrier was partially opened to allow the river water flow to be regulated and when the operators tried to close it one of the flaps was stuck. So the solution seemed to be to open the gates fully in order to release the stuck flap. This may have worked but also may have caused the surge in the flow which had a damaging effect on the town and, perhaps even worse, downstream in East Peckham and Yalding. The other theory, and one which the authorities seem to be sticking with, is that the levels at the flood barrier were so high, perhaps because the forty year old system in need of an upgrade, that the Environment Authority had no choice but to raise the barrier to allow water to be dispersed down river. Either way the residents and businesses of Tonbridge and the surrounding villages need some quick answers. No cover up please just honest, blunt answers. I'll have a bet though that we don't get these answers unless they are wrung out of the people involved....

3 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

I was really shocked and surprised as well that the flood waters were so high that they flooded TJ's clubhouse. There were some photos on the club's website showing the extent of the damage. It must have been one hell of a flood to have reached the level of the bar area.

I don't suppose for one minute we'll get the truth from the Environment Agency. I posted a comment on one of your previous blogs about the one of the sluice gates being damaged. I'm obviously not certain exactly how true this is, but something caused the sudden surge of floodwater and a word of explanation from the Environment Agency would not go amiss.

Hopefully the insurers will cover the damage done to the rugby club, but as you point out there's still a massive amount of clearing up and making good for the club's volunteers to do.

The flood damage has also led to the cancellation of the TJ's Beer Festival, which was due to take place at the beginning of February.

Brett said...

well, I'm not sure what happened but I would of thought if barrier was completely opened the surge, although bad, would of been a hell of a lot worse?

It's a shame about TJs - big loss of revenue at the cancellation of their Beer festival and, as you say, huge nightmare trying to get the clubhouse repaired in order to have sufficient facilities to house games.... Going to be a nasty knock-on effect in premium rise on renewal as well I'd guess...

On a related note - I wonder if the council will have second thoughts regarding the Sainsbury's plans to have underground parking?...

Dave said...

The new Sainsburys development would not have an underground car park but one at existing car park level with the store over the top. But even so this got flooded as you know and the illustrations in the development booklets show that the cinema and shop development are at ground level. As is the leisure centre in Bradford street.
The latest press release in kentnews web site says that 65% of the 900 that replied to the questionnaire are in favour of the development and planning will be applied for some time this year. that's a bit different from previous claims that planning would in by the end of 2013.
Meanwhile elsewhere Tesco seem to be stopping the development of these large supermarkets and have started converting some of the space to incorporate shops, cafes and community use, A bit like the existing Sainsburys/Beales/Angel centre set up!
And of course the percentage shopping done on the internet is ever increasing with the click and collect becoming very popular.