Published: 11:48, 12 December 2018
| Updated: 11:52, 12 December 2018
Retired businessman Brian Spoor is making a splash.
The chairman of Sheerness Town Team has waded into the row over his town's blocked drains and is demanding immediate action after a year-long wait for repairs.
Despite the High Street being closed to traffic for two weeks for drain and sewer repairs, the pavement still floods outside the Sheppey Gateway on the Isle of Sheppey, every time it rains.
Pedestrians and motorists are forced to dodge the puddle, which covers the entire pavement, or get their feet wet.
But both Southern Water and Kent County Council have refused to take any responsibility.
Mr Spoor said: "I have now lost my patience.
"The Town Team has been logging reports about this ridiculous state of affairs as far back as October 2017. But the problem has still not been solved.
"I've seen pensioners struggling through the water, mums carrying youngsters over it and motorists getting their shoes full of water after parking and stepping into this lake.
"The High Street was closed for two weeks while engineers replaced drain gratings but as soon as it rained the problem returned.
"My only hope now is that the new Sheerness Town Council, which comes into force in May, may bang heads together to get this sorted.
"None of Sheppey's existing councillors for Kent or Swale have been unable to get anything done."
He said all the High Street drains are connected so if one blocks, they all block.
Emergency engineers from Kent Highways were called on October 15 when Susan Bidgood broke her foot after slipping on grease on the pavement from the drain outside the NatWest Bank and pumped out the sewers.
Cllr Mike Whiting, cabinet member for roads at Kent County Council, said: “Sometimes drains can back up and overflow because they are connected to, and rely on, the sewer system to take the water away.
“Those sewers can block and cause KCC’s drain to back up. Sewers are maintained and run by the water companies, not KCC."
A Kent County Council spokesman said: "During October, the High Street was closed to renew a number of drainage grates and carry out small repairs to the carriageway and gully cleansing was carried out as part of these works.
“The road drains were cleansed and tested and all reported as free flowing in the area of the Sheppey Gateway.
“The drains at this location, however, connect into the public sewer. Therefore, if the sewer reaches capacity, the drains will also overflow.
"This is not uncommon during heavy rainfall.
“However, a further report has been received raising the issue of flooding. KCC will perform a full inspection and investigate the cause."
He added: “From the photo, it would appear the water is ‘ponding’ due to poor gradients of the footpath and thus not free-flowing into the gullies.
“Once the inspection has taken place, the necessary works orders will be raised to alleviate the flooding on the footpath.”
Mr Spoor said: "It is not 'ponding.' The drains can clearly be seen in the middle of the puddle."
A spokesman for Southern Water insisted: "Our sewers do not run down that section of the High Street but are located in the alleys on the other side of the buildings.
"The only time we've seen very high flows running through our pumping stations in the area was during torrential rains last May - a strong indication that these drains are not affecting our sewer system.
"Water and sewage companies are not responsible for surface drains and gullies.
"Although drains often connect to the sewage system for historical reasons, this does not appear to be the case here."
He added: "We carry out 24 routine cleaning jobs in the area close-by every year.
"Almost all the issues we have experienced have all been related to fat, oil and grease or other 'unflushables' causing blockages in our sewers.
"That's why we work closely residents and businesses, such as fast food outlets, to raise awareness that only three Ps should go down the sewer - poo, pee and paper.
"We can all do our bit to keep the network flowing freely."
Using file photos, we have traced the floods back to January 2016.
* Click here for more news about the 'unflushables.'