The recent flooding which has hit Swindon homes and businesses hard has been described as a "once in 100 years event".

And now Swindon Borough Council has promised action after heavy rainfall brought many parts of the town to a standstill in September and October.

Councillor Chris Watts, the cabinet member in charge of highways, has issued an update on how the council dealt with the recent issue and what will happen next. 

He also called for a better partnership between the local authority, Thames Water and the Environment Agency in order to limit the risk of such events happening again - as well for a review to be carried out and presented to cabinet.

"The main cause behind the recent flooding was the volume of rain," he said. "But I do want to review and assess how prepared the council is, along with making sure that we work with relevant partner organisations."

Swindon Advertiser: Flooding at Lydiard Park Picture: Martin HawesFlooding at Lydiard Park Picture: Martin Hawes (Image: Martin Hawes)

Cllr Watts explained that processes that should have been in place to deal with situations like this, like the appointment of flood wardens who monitor at-risk areas and notify them of when flooding might occur, and that this and other lines of communication have not been in place for many years. 

"I've come into this administration with fresh eyes and it's given me opportunities to see where the deficiencies are," he said, "As a local authority we're probably behind the curve on this so need to do some catch-up."

The level of rainfall has designated the recent flooding as a 'once in a 100-year event' which has prompted a Section 19 review, where the council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency will have to draw up a report and present it to parliament with recommendations of how to prevent further instances. 

Cllr Watts added: "As far as finding a resolution we all have to work together. especially with the well-publicised financial problems Thames Water is facing, the budget cuts to the Environmental Agency and Swindon Borough Council losing the best of £60 million from the central government support grant.

Swindon Advertiser: Hook street completely submerged Picture: Michael DaviesHook street completely submerged Picture: Michael Davies (Image: Michael Davies)

"Because of this, it is imperative we all pull together and don’t work in silos, so that we can be proactive if these events occur again."

In the update, it was revealed that following the forecast and the imminent arrival of Storm Babet on October 19, drainage teams began preventative gully cleaning in known hotspot, gully machines and teams were placed on call and sandbags were delivered to previous hit properties. 

On the morning of Friday October 20, all scheduled highway work was cancelled, and the staff were split into flood response teams. Calls from the control room were passed to our team where they were prioritised and allocated to the relevant teams based on the severity of the issue.

Enquires raised through the website were monitored as they came in with a list of road closures visible to the back-office team to speed up responses to customers and residents.

A team of six inspectors dealt with the enquiries and fed back to the supervisors to allocate the work. Sandbags were deployed to around 10 specific areas across the town. The grounds team operatives supported with the making of a further 200 sandbags

All the teams worked through until 6pm on Friday before reconvening on Saturday at 6.30am to work through customer enquiries and revisit the worst affected areas.

From the morning of October 20 to 23, the operations team received 165 flooding and drainage enquiries.

As of October 26, 113 of those enquiries had been resolved.

Now the council is reviewing and visiting 52 enquiries, restocking its sandbags, and reviewing the outcome of previous enquiries. 

Cllr Watts added: "The highways team have worked extremely hard during this period, and I am sure you would like to join me in thanking them for their fantastic work throughout the borough."