Golden Lane Estate sewage flooding

Shakespeare pub and Golden Lane Estate
Image credit LDRS

Sewage flooded into parts of the Grade-II listed Golden Lane Estate on two separate occasions in the last few weeks. Several members of staff at The Shakespeare pub also allegedly fell ill around the same time as the flooding first occurred, though this has not been decisively connected to the sewage.

The Golden Lane Estate Residents’ Association has since called for answers from the City of London Corporation, given ‘raw sewage is a major health hazard and the garage area is often accessed by children’.

The issue was first raised with the Corporation, the site’s freeholder, on Tuesday, May 21. In a Housing Management and Almshouses Sub-Committee meeting this week (June 3), Common Councillor Ceri Wilkins, who lives on Golden Lane, asked why it took her to email the Director and Deputy of Community and Children’s Services Committee the Sunday following the incident before anything was done.

Not only that, but she said a letter distributed by the City last Friday (May 31) appeared to blame the issue on residents, claiming the flooding was due to the presence of wet wipes. The blocking of the drains for a second time over the weekend just gone, she added, dispelled this take, with the issue clearly one of maintenance.

A City of London spokesperson has since confirmed the problems at the Golden Lane Estate were due to malfunctioning pumps, and apologised for the inconvenience.

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Cllr Wilkins told the Sub-Committee that several members of staff at The Shakespeare had fallen ill due to the sewage. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has been unable to contact the pub directly, though it understands that while staff members did fall ill, it was uncertain whether this was connected to the sewage.

Cllr Wilkins added the insinuation wet wipes had caused the flooding was proven untrue by a second round of flooding the weekend just gone. “So it obviously isn’t a wet wipe issue,” she told the committee. “This is a maintenance issue. So I just want to ask basically, what has been done, what is going to be done, and how we can ensure that actually the correct maintenance is done to our estate.

“We have a lot of young people who play on our estate. They have no idea that that can be a huge danger to them. The fact members of staff at the pub have fallen very ill because of this issue. Other residents may have also done so.”

Ms Wilkins was told by Peta Caine, assistant director of housing management, that the wet wipes were found to be a contributing factor, but not the only issue causing the flooding. Ms Caine added there is a maintenance regime in place, though that ‘work obviously needs to be done there’.

The issue was further raised by Common Councillor Steve Goodman and Deputy Elizabeth King at yesterday’s (June 4) Finance Committee meeting.

In a letter sent to the City before the second bout of flooding, Tim Godsmark, chair of the Golden Lane Residents’ Association, also raised concerns about the response from the Corporation.

He said: “Can you explain why it took from Tuesday until Sunday to action this work, as raw sewage is a major health hazard and the garage area is often accessed by children?

“This has happened before with garages being flooded with flood from rainwater being a regular occurrence and we would like assurances that the pumps are regularly checked and serviced including when they were last serviced. We understand that the pumps have an alarm and ask if this is operating and if it is, why was it ignored?”

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “Two incidents occurred in the Golden Lane Estate car park where drains became blocked and overflowed. This was due to pumps which would usually be pumping sewage away from the site malfunctioning.

“Contractors have been on site to rectify the issue and clear the blockage. They will also carry out a deep clean to the pub cellars. Residents have been kept up date with the works.

“We apologise to residents and local businesses for the inconvenience that this issue has caused.”

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