West Berkshire Council


Newbury is located in the south of West Berkshire with Enborne and Speen parishes to the west, Shaw Cum Donnington and Cold Ash to the north and Thatcham and Greenham to the east. The area is predominantly covered by housing and commerce. The River Kennet and Kennet and Avon Canal flow west to east through Newbury Town Centre in the north of the area; the River Lambourn flows through the north east tip, joining the Kennet at the eastern boundary. There are fields and open land just outside the Newbury boundary on all three sides.

  1. The flooding in Newbury was predominantly caused by run-off from the fields to the north which overwhelmed drainage system. 152 properties flooded in Newbury, details of which are shown on Drawing Nos 2002/FLD/41/101 to 106.
  2. Wellington Close and Cromwell Road, which are located to the north near the boundary with Shaw, both suffered from flooding. 22 houses were flooded in Wellington Close and 37 in Cromwell Road. The water came from the cemetery that backs on to Cromwell Road in a sudden surge, having exceeded the level of the small earth bank which surrounds the graveyard. This water flowed into Cromwell Road and Wellington Close. Floodwater also ran down from Messenger's Copse to the north-east, past Messenger House, en-route to the base of the valley. Messenger House was flooded to a depth of 100mm throughout the ground floor of the property for a few hours. When the water reached Cromwell Road, it ran down the rear of properties south of Nos 55 and 57. Some properties were unaffected as they are built slightly higher and/or positioned further back. The water then drained through a footpath and collected in Wellington Close, rising to a height of 1m. The properties along Cromwell Road were flooded for approximately three hours, whereas Wellington Close was flooded for two days. The water could not flow further south because the access to Wellington Close from Kiln Road is considerably higher, effectively holding back the floodwater.
  3. Fleetwood Close, which is at the north-eastern corner of Newbury on the Manor Park estate, was severely flooded. Water came through the fence at the back of the close, next to No.16, and flooded the top five properties down to No.11. The floodwater then flowed down to the turning head in the cul-de-sac and flooded No.17 and Nos 19 to 22. Nos 5, 7 and 9 were also flooded as the water cascaded down from the back of the close. Behind No.16, there is a headwall and a pipe (approximately 600mm) which leads to an inspection chamber and then out into a ditch that runs east of the southern-most houses in Fleetwood Close. This ditch is overgrown and poorly maintained. The ditch that contains the headwall is approximately 3m deep; the downstream outlet pipe is about 600mm above the invert of the ditch where the ditch has eroded below the concrete apron under the pipe. Around the car park, the floodwater rose to approximately 1.5m deep. Residents knocked out some bricks in the base of the car park wall to drain the water into the road which then drained away in a few hours. The ditch that bypasses Fleetwood Close runs to another 600mm culvert with a trash screen adjacent to Waller Drive. This was partially blocked by debris at the time of the site visit. The culvert runs under Waller Drive and continues southwards under the industrial estate along the line of an old ditch.
  4. Three properties in Yate's Copse were also flooded, Nos 1 and 1A were flooded as the water from Yate's Copse drains down the slope to this point by the entrance. The first house on the corner of Lambert Drive off of Yates Copse was also affected by the flooding. This was as a result of run-off through gardens and under fences and gates draining to this garden. The water built up round the back of the house within the brick-walled boundary and caused flooding via the back doors.
  5. The floodwater flowed down into Waller Drive and ponded for a large area on the road at the head of the culvert that drains through the scrap-yard to the south. The water built up against the scrap-yard wall to around 1.5m deep and caused it to collapse, enabling the water to flow down into Turnpike Industrial Estate. The water flooded all six of the industrial units on the western side to a depth of approximately 200mm, with 300mm of water flowing past the buildings. The floodwater then came in through the back of the three southern-most units. The water also came down the eastern road in the estate and added to the water which collected against the southern-most units as these are considerably lower than the others. The floodwater was approximately 1.5m deep in this location. The water drained away after a few hours, though much of the drainage within the industrial estate is blocked and the tenants stated that they can't afford to pay to have the system cleaned. Had the system been cleared then the effects would not have been so severe. The flow of water between the buildings in the centre of the industrial estate caused the grassed area to be undercut and to collapse in a number of places, damaging some of the outside storage areas and footpaths.
  6. The floodwater flowed from Turnpike Industrial Estate, down a footpath between Nos 95 and 97 Turnpike Road and flooded 11 properties on Turnpike Road, Nos.76 to 92 and 93 & 95. These properties were flooded for a few hours. The water then flowed down the rear of Nos 67 to 73 and No.63 Cresswell Road. No.73 suffered damage to its foundations from the floodwater and has since been deemed uninhabitable.
  7. Hambridge Road flooded at the junction with Hambridge Lane, covering the footpath and half of the road on the northern side of the mini roundabout. This was due to the road drainage system being overwhelmed by the volume of water, made worse by additional run-off from the north and from the west. The floodwater was 700mm deep, forcing cars to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid the flooded area. The water receded after half a day.
  8. Twenty two basements were flooded along Shaw Road. These properties were flooded for around a day. All of the residents pumped water out of the basements to minimise damage but the water was came in quicker than it could be pumped out. Water collected and ponded on the road from No.96 on the west side south to No.41, including the Hutton Close junction. The resident in No.96 is disabled and says this area floods quite often in heavy rain as the gullies can't cope. The vehicles wash the water over his drive and he gets soaked if he leaves his house when the road is flooded. The gullies along Shaw Road were completely blocked with debris. One resident mentioned that a jetter unit came to clear the gullies and she pointed out to the crew one that was particularly blocked;;however, when she went back to check, the drain had not been touched and the crew had gone.
  9. Charlton Place, Park Lane and a block of properties on London Road were flooded by surface water. Nos 79A and 79B, 81A and 81B and 83A and 83B on London Road were flooded as these are basement flats and the water came up out of the drains outside and flooded in through the front doors. They flooded to a depth of around 300mm for half a day. Charlton Place also flooded outside Nos 1 and 16. Park Lane is a footway linking Charlton Place to the Robin Hood Roundabout. Water flowed off the main roundabout and down Park Lane which is relatively narrow. The water built up to a depth of around 1m. Nos 1 to 11 were flooded to about 100mm for two to three hours. Whilst floodwater did not enter No.7 from the front, it suffered from water coming up out of the drain at the rear of the property. Installation of a non-return valve could solve this problem and prevent the property from flooding in the future.
  10. Remembrance Road north of Pound Street and Enborne Road often floods in heavy rain. It was flooded for about five hours during the July storm with water ponding in front of No.2, adjacent to the access road to the garages. There is a gully at this point, so it is likely that it was blocked at the time of the storm.
  11. St Bartholomew's school flooded due to blocked guttering. The library and the sport lobby were affected.
  12. Six properties in Craven Road were flooded, Nos.36, 38, 41, 47, 49 and 57. No.41 was flooded as a result of water surcharging up from the drainage system. This is a regular occurrence and has forced No.41 to install their own flood defences and their view was that if this severe storm should occur again it is likely that the excess water will flood a few more of the properties to the west.
  13. No.20 Claremont Crescent, which is on the old Turnpike School site below Gaywood Drive, flooded as a result of the drainage system surcharging and overflowing from the manhole located in the garden of No.18. The water then flowed down into No.20, directed by the slope of the gardens, and ponded to a depth of approximately 1m deep in the garden. This caused around 200mm of flooding inside the property which lasted for a few hours until the water drained down into the road.
  14. Seven properties were flooded along Mill Lane just east of the Police Station due to run-off collecting in the dip adjacent to No.45 Mill Lane. No.2 Connaught Road was also flooded. The camber of the road at the west corner of Connaught Road directed all the run-off to the low point adjacent to No.45 Mill Lane on the east side of Connaught Rd. This built up to about 300mm and then flowed around the front of the properties affecting Nos 47 to 57 before flowing back round to the rear of No.45, creating a lake and flooding No.2 Connaught Road at the same time. No.45 was flooded for about six hours but they were constantly clearing out water with buckets and they had up to 300mm of flooding internally. The drainage system was overwhelmed by the volume of water, particularly at the western corner of the entrance to Connaught Road. The water that was being cleared out of the properties was draining at the far side of Mill Lane, indicating a problem with the drains immediately next to the affected properties. Similarly, gullies outside No.59 Mill Lane were flowing freely and residents were draining the excess water to here.
  15. 11A Buckingham Road, towards the southern side of Newbury, experienced some flooding through the garage caused by run-off from the road. The water built up to a depth of approximately 200mm against the property almost to the height of the air bricks.

Newbury Recommendations

  • In order to reduce the extent of flooding in Newbury the following measures should be considered:


  • Improved maintenance regime for clearing the gullies and drainage system along Mill Lane, Craven Road, Remembrance Road and Shaw Road. This would reduce the likelihood of over 30 properties being flooded
  • Improved maintenance of surface water drainage systems throughout
  • Clear ditch adjacent to Fleetwood Close to increase it's capacity - mature trees will limit the amount of work possible

Minor Works

  • The drainage system within Turnpike Industrial Estate is blocked and requires maintenance which the land owner is saying that they cannot afford
  • Increase the number of gullies in the vicinity of Nos 98 and 100 Turnpike Road
  • Investigate measures to prevent or reduce run-off from Buckingham Road into No.11A

Larger Schemes

  • Provide a ditch around the perimeter of the cemetery and / or the field to the north to help to reduce the flow of water though the valley towards the properties in Cromwell Road and Wellington Close. This could reduce the effects of flooding on 59 properties.
  • Alternatively raise the embankments along the southern edge of the cemetery to increase the storage capacity
  • Increase the number of gullies along the B4009 to capture the run-off generated from the fields to the west and further north past the cemetery
  • Increase the capacity of the pipe to the north of Fleetwood Close and ensure that it is situated at the lowest point of the ditch
  • Increase the capacity of the culvert underneath Waller Drive to reduce the amount of water collecting in the road
  • Increase the capacity of the system which drains Charlton Place to help to clear surface water quicker
  • Provide ditch or bund system to divert run-off from the woods north of Yates Copse away from the properties