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Couple's garden in Dowding Road in Tunbridge Wells floods repeatedly after footpath repairs


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A couple who spent thousands creating their dream garden are seeking compensation from Kent County Council after works to tarmac a footpath behind their home left their garden vulnerable to flooding.

Robert and Zita Dent from Dowding Road in Tunbridge Wells say the problems started in November 2018 when the overgrown lane was cleared to make a new connection into town.

Watch flood water cascades into the garden

But drainage has been so poor, every time there is heavy rain, the water spills under their garden gate flooding their carefully designed garden and coating it in mud and silt.

Now three years on and several floods later, the council has installed a drain with the aim of resolving the issues.

While Mr and Mrs Dent are grateful, they say the damage has already been done and items in their beautiful garden will need to be replaced if they ever want to enjoy it again,

Mrs Dent, 59, said: "When it floods it's like a waterfall coming in to the gate. It happens about three or four times each year but we're just waiting for the next lot of rain to see if the new drain really has solved it.

The garden floods 'three or four times each year'
The garden floods 'three or four times each year'
Mrs Dent says her garden has been ruined by water damage
Mrs Dent says her garden has been ruined by water damage

"All the silt and the mud left behind means going out to the car can be very slippery. I slipped and jolted my back and it had me in tears."

Before the damage the garden was full of flowers, furniture and giant animal statues for their grandchildren to enjoy.

Mrs Dent has lived in the home for more than 23 years and has spent the time transforming it, but now she feels she cannot enjoy her outside space because of the damage.

Mrs Dent added: "The last time it flooded I sat and cried my eyes out because we’ve spent so much time and money to have a nice garden and it has been ruined and nobody seems to care.

"Since this started I’ve stopped working on it because I’ve lost heart and I don't sit out there any more.

How the footpath looked after it was installed leading to the first set of complaints
How the footpath looked after it was installed leading to the first set of complaints
How the path looked after the foliage was cleared and before the tarmac was laid
How the path looked after the foliage was cleared and before the tarmac was laid
A huge step in the tarmac was left behind near the garden gate
A huge step in the tarmac was left behind near the garden gate

"I want compensation because this has all got to be relaid but nobody seems to care about the damage.

"Before everyone complimented my garden and now it's a mess."

Mr Dent explains the artificial grass has taken the worst hit adding: "If you look at the grass when it's dry, it looks okay but as soon as it rains, all the mud comes up and you get muddy footprints coming through where it's all embedded.

"We have been told any rain that comes into our garden is our responsibility to deal with.

"If it comes out the sky, I totally agree, but when you put a tarmac lane in without drainage it's going to cause an issue."

How the garden used to look
How the garden used to look
Large animals were placed around the garden for the grandchildren to enjoy
Large animals were placed around the garden for the grandchildren to enjoy

Because of their location, their neighbours are not so badly affected and thankfully the water has never come into the house.

A council spokesperson said: “We were approached about surface water flooding associated with a Public Right of Way in Dowding Way.

“Officers have completed comprehensive and extensive work, beyond our remit, to mitigate the impact of rainfall on this property and spoken at length with the resident affected.

“While we are satisfied the drainage system is able to cope with normal levels of rainfall, people have a responsibility to take measures to protect their own properties.”

Read more: All the latest news from Tunbridge Wells

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