BY TOBY PORTER
A retired childminder had to put up with her garden being flooded with raw sewage for almost two weeks – and fears the long-standing problem will return.
Linda Campbell, who has lived on the run-down Cressingham Gardens Estate in Tulse Hill for 36 years, said her asthma worsened during the 10 days of flooding, which took repeated visits by engineers to clear.
The effluent was cleared last week but she claims to have endured years of repeated flooding – and the workmen told her the blockage causing it is beneath up to five other neighbouring properties in her road, Bodley Manor Way.
The grandmother of 10, who also has both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, said: “It was like a paddling pool out there.
“I have windows which go down to the floor so throughout the time it was there I was very worried it would leak into my sitting room.
“I have had bronchitis and flu while it was out there. I dare not go out there.
“I had to tell my grandchildren not to come here because they would have got sick from it. It took so long to get someone out who could fix it – I kept getting fobbed off time after time. The staff from K&K Drainage told me about how far the problem stretches – they were good because they told me everything.
“I knew there was a problem because my garden has been flooded once or twice a year every year for a decade at least. Something broken does not fix itself.
“But the council wants to demolish this estate, so everything here is going downhill.”
The mess first appeared on January 12. On January 18 workers on a regular visit to the estate told her it would be sorted within two days.
But when engineers arrived on January 17 and did a full inspection, they revealed it was such a big job that they didn’t know how long it would take.
They visited again on January 20 and told her the problem extends up to five houses along the road and would need to be fully surveyed before they could know how to clear the problem permanently. Her garden was cleared on January 24.
Contractors visited again on Thursday but could not gain access to the other blocked properties so went away again.
“It’s just as well I am retired because otherwise I would have had to stay at home for 14 days and the problem has still not been sorted,” said Linda. “It’s not acceptable.”
A Lambeth council spokesman said: “We were made aware of this problem and worked hard to resolve it. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused to Ms Campbell, but it was a complex problem that has needed a number of pieces of work, including a CCTV survey, before it could be fixed.
“We also arranged for drainage experts to visit the property after the initial repair, and investigate any underlying problems. We’ll decide what to do next based on the results of that investigation. We’re committed to carrying out repairs like this on all our estates, and making sure that they don’t continue to happen, so our staff carried out a ‘walkabout’ on the estate to discuss repairs with residents. We’ve highlighted all outstanding repairs and are working with our contractor to address them. All repairs will be inspected afterwards to confirm that they’ve been carried out correctly.”