A4 in London experiences flooding after downpour
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Tipton St John Primary School, which has about 90 pupils, has suffered from repeated flooding with children being evacuated and the school having to shut. Last week’s heavy rainfall once again hit the site and led to flooding, with pictures showing the water still boot-level high even hours after the water levels had peaked during the night.
Cllr Jess Bailey, who represents the Otter Valley on Devon County Council, has once again called on the Government to help fund the relocation of the school
Options have been considered to move the school to a new site within the village, however, a £3.5m to the Government for support and funding was rejected.
Plans to build on the current site are also out of the question due to the flood risk. One other solution is to move the school to nearby Ottery St Mary.
Plans to relocate the school to Ottery St Mary, as part of a 150 home housing scheme, had been put forward, but in January 2021 the plans were rejected by East Devon councillors due to the housing element by 11 votes to two.
Cllr Bailey said: “It is vital that the government funds the relocation of Tipton St John school within the village of Tipton St John. This intolerable situation has been dragging on for years and the government needs to do the right thing. There is an established ‘risk to life’ from flooding, which is a matter of huge concern. The government must act now.
“It is ridiculous that the government has previously not taken into account flood risk when deciding which schools to fund. This has meant Tipton St John primary school has missed out and was not one of the 100 selected schools. This must change for the next funding rounds”
“It is not a matter of ‘if’ it is a matter of ‘when and how bad” the next flooding incident will be at Tipton St John School,. I am very fearful of what this could mean for teachers and pupils as there is a clearly established ‘risk to life.”
Having visited the site in person, the Councillor was shocked to see the amount of water at the site.
Cllr Bailey added: “I have written to the relevant government minister Baroness Barran, to highlight the issue of flooding at the school. This situation cannot continue and I am urging the government to fund the relocation of the school within the village.
“I have emphasised the importance of flood risk being a key criterion for funding for new school buildings, particularly when there is an established ‘risk to life’, which is the case at Tipton St John.”
Her letter added: “The site is within flood zone 3 and has experienced flooding events on multiple occasions in recent years.
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“Strenuous efforts have been made by the Diocese, Devon County Council and the School Governors to relocate the school for over a decade now. This significant and unresolved flood risk issue needs to be addressed as a priority through the School Rebuilding Programme.
“Flood risk which is dangerous and poses a risk to life – as it is the case at Tipton St John – must be a key factor in assessing priorities. Not only does the flood risk at Tipton St John represent a threat to life, but also could cause long term closure of the school with significant educational disruption to pupils.
“And what is more, the flood risk is set to worsen significantly in coming years due to climate change making this an even more pressing issue.
“I do really feel that the government must fund the relocation of Tipton St John School within Tipton St John. This dangerous situation which represents a threat to life cannot be allowed to continue and the government must provide vital funding.”
Tipton St John is located in East Devon, three miles south of Ottery St Mary, and 18 miles east of Exeter.
The village sits on the River Otter, which meets the sea at Budleigh Salterton.
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