'Absolute disgrace': Council leader Chris Townsend says Mole Valley not invited to flood meeting with minister

A couple and their pets are rescued by boats from their home in Thorncroft Drive on Christmas Eve

A couple and their pets are rescued by boats from their home in Thorncroft Drive on Christmas Eve

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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A council leader has described as "an absolute disgrace" Mole Valley not being invited to a flood recovery meeting with a government minister on Monday.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis is due to discuss the huge flood problems with local authorities from the South East of England.

Heavy flooding has caused devastation along the River Mole, including Leatherhead, over the past month resulting in evacuations, damaged building and traffic chaos.

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A stranded pony is flooding in Leatherhead on Christmas Eve

Despite not receiving an invitation to the meeting Councillor Chris Townsend, leader of Mole Valley District Council, said he and the chief executive, Yvonne Rees, plan to attend the meeting anyway after another council told them about it.

Coun Townsend said: "We have been told by another district. Why was Mole Valley not on that list? It’s an absolute disgrace. We had it as bad as anyone."

He said that he wanted to raise the issue of making sure flood defences were set up to defend the River Mole and ensuring they had more information on flood plains.

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The view from a house in Minchin Close, Leatherhead, on Christmas Eve

He said: "We should be very, very careful where we build. We need more direct, clear advice when we have planning applications."

Coun Townsend said more than 3,000 sandbags had been handed with council officers out on the ground helping people after the Christmas Eve floods.

He said: "We are having a review of what happened and how to improve what we do. We hope to have some sort of report by late March or April."

A spokesman at the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "I believe there is a meeting on flood recovery.

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Flooding inside Leatherhead fire station on Christmas Eve

"It’s more a listening exercise to find out what local authorities need in the South East. It’s to find out what sorts of issues they are facing and what can be done."

The department has not yet responded over whether it sent an invite to Mole Valley District Council.

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Floods have repeatedly struck Leatherhead Football Club 


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