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Sean Maxwell still homeless three months after Iwade home flooded

By John Nurden

A man is still homeless more than three months after his home was flooded when a stream burst its banks in heavy rain.

Sean Maxwell, who has had to live in a hotel and then a caravan on a friend’s driveway, is demanding action.

But he says the Environment Agency, Southern Water and Kent County Council are passing the buck.

Sean Maxwell's flooded garden at Sheerstone, Iwade
Sean Maxwell's flooded garden at Sheerstone, Iwade

He said: “This has been a life-changer for me but none of the organisations want to know. The more it goes on, the less answers I get.”

Mr Maxwell, 41, a scaffolder, was at home in Sheerstone, Iwade, on Tuesday, May 29 when a nearby stream burst its banks and flooded his ground floor. Fourteen other homes were also damaged.

It followed a huge downpour which also affected homes in Meadow Brown View but Mr Maxwell say he has traced the water to two lagoons on the former Iwade brickworks.

He said: “Other homes were flooded by rainwater but this was dark brown and the sediment left stains all over my house, workshop and my cars.

Sean Maxwell's flooded room at Sheerstone, Iwade
Sean Maxwell's flooded room at Sheerstone, Iwade
Sean Maxwell's pet dog after the flood at Iwade
Sean Maxwell's pet dog after the flood at Iwade
The stream near Sean Maxwell's home at Sheerstone, Iwade
The stream near Sean Maxwell's home at Sheerstone, Iwade

“I had to throw out carpets, rip out my kitchen and chuck all my electrical equipment including the fridge into a skip.

"I have two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs but nowhere to cook.

“I spent eight weeks in a hotel then lived in a mate’s caravan before moving in with my disabled mum.

"My dog is now living with her. It’s not ideal.”

The brickworks lagoon at Iwade
The brickworks lagoon at Iwade
Sean Maxwell says he is still homeless after his home in Iwade was flooded more than three months ago
Sean Maxwell says he is still homeless after his home in Iwade was flooded more than three months ago
Sean Maxwell's water report after the flood at Iwade (4014300)
Sean Maxwell's water report after the flood at Iwade (4014300)

He says neighbours reported rats swimming in the flood water.

He paid £300 on water testing which registered 62% of silicon oxide and wants compensation for all homes, someone to take responsibility and flood protection.

Mr Maxwell is seeking compensation for himself and the 14 other properties plus protection to ensure his part of the village isn't flooded again.

He said: "I want someone to put their hands up and accept responsibility."

But that wasn't happening last week.

Kent County Council said: "We don't look after rivers or streams and wouldn’t be responsible for lagoons on a private site. It's probably a matter for the Environment Agency."

The Environment Agency replied: "This incident was caused by surface water flooding. Kent County Council are the lead authority. We believe they have undertaken an investigation into the incident with a view to producing a report."

And Southern Water said: "Flooding is a complex and emotive issue and one for which many agencies and organisations, including councils, the Environment Agency, highways authorities, landowners and water companies, are responsible.

"As a water company, even though we are not the agency directly responsible for investigating and solving groundwater, river flooding or surface water problems, we are committed to helping and supporting other organisations and the local flood resilience forums to help address the issue.”

At Meadow Brown View, developer Persimmon Homes has built earth bunds to protect homes although residents complained the drains failed during the last deluge.

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