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Flooded stream has left Sean Maxwell unable to live in his home in Iwade for eight months

By John Nurden

A scaffolder has spent almost eight months without anywhere to live after a stream flooded his home.

Sean Maxwell is at his wits’ end after he had to rip out his kitchen and downstairs flooring when it was destroyed - and is still awaiting assurances it will not happen again.

The 42-year-old has now discovered a drain under his home might be leaking.

He said: “There has been no progress. I just want answers.”

His nightmare began in May when the stream next to his home in Sheerstone, Iwade burst its banks and flooded his garden, garage and downstairs rooms.

Cherished classic cars were swamped and he ended up sleeping in a hotel, a caravan, on a friend’s driveway and is now living with his mum on Sheppey.

Sean Maxwell overlooks the stream next to his home in Sheerstone, Iwade (6963567)
Sean Maxwell overlooks the stream next to his home in Sheerstone, Iwade (6963567)

This week he says he discovered a pipe from the road drains in front of his house passes under his property and discharges into the stream.

He said: “I believe it might be broken. Every time it rains I get damp patches on my walls.

“I’ve had enough. I hold down a job during the day then come back to this.

Sean Maxwell's garden in Sheerstone, Iwade, was flooded when a stream burst its banks
Sean Maxwell's garden in Sheerstone, Iwade, was flooded when a stream burst its banks

“I have spoken to my insurers but there is no point spending any more on my house in case it happens again.”

Mr Maxwell was summoned back to his home on Friday by a neighbour concerned the stream was about to flood again.

He gabbed a rake to remove debris from a blocked culvert but says Environment Agency workers told him to stop.

The stream next to Sean Maxwell's home in Sheerstone, Iwade
The stream next to Sean Maxwell's home in Sheerstone, Iwade

Fourteen other homes were damaged by the original flood when water from two lagoons further up the stream overflowed.

On Monday, January 21, the National Flood Forum hosted a multi-agency meeting at All Saints Church, Iwade, to thrash out the problems.

Mr Maxwell says he is waiting for the results.

Kent Highways said it was sending a camera down its drain tomorrow.

He said: “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.

Sean Maxwell believes there may be a leak in one of the drains outside his home in Sheerstone, Iwade
Sean Maxwell believes there may be a leak in one of the drains outside his home in Sheerstone, Iwade

“I spent eight weeks in a hotel then lived in a mate’s caravan before moving in with my disabled mum. It’s not ideal.”

A spokesman for KCC said: "The stream which caused the flooding is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. They are leading on this.

"However, following on from the meeting, KCC has agreed that all the highways gullies will be cleansed and lines jetted through to the outfalls within Sheerstone, Ferry Road and The Street.

"KCC has arranged for a CCTV survey to be completed on Friday to confirm the pipe under his house does outfall to the stream.

"CCTV will ascertain the condition of the pipe. Once this has been completed, the next course of action will be decided."

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.”

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