Couple who spent £1000s on garden seek compensation after flooding

Couple who spent thousands on their dream garden demand compensation after Kent council tarmacked footpath which FLOODS their property with six inches of water whenever it rains

  • Robert and Zita Dent spent thousands on their dream garden in Tunbridge Wells
  • The problems started in November 2018 after Kent Council tarmacked footpath
  • Heavy rainfall would leave garden under six inches of water four times a year
  • Kent council said people have responsibility to ‘protect their own properties’

A couple who spent thousands of pounds on their dream garden are seeking compensation from their local council, claiming it is repeatedly flooded because of a newly-tarmacked footpath.  

Robert and Zita Dent claim they have spent some 23 years transforming their garden with flowers, furniture and giant animal statues for their grandchildren to enjoy.

But they were hit with problems after Kent County Council tarmacked an overgrown road behind their property, in Tunbridge Wells. 

The new lane was allegedly installed ‘without proper drainage’, allowing water to come gushing into their garden when it rained.   

BEFORE: Robert and Zita Dent had their dream garden before a new lane installed by the council ‘without proper drainage’ allowed water to come gushing into their garden when it rained

AFTER: The flooded garden of Robert and Zita Dent after the council installed a new lane behind the house with poor drainage

The couple spent thousands on artificial grass, outdoor furniture and flowers before flooding caused damage to the garden

The damage caused to Mrs Dent’s garden has left her in tears after the couple spent so much time and money on their dream garden

Three years on and several floods later, Kent County Council have installed a drain in an attempt to resolve the issue but the couple says it’s too late

Mrs Dent said people used to compliment her garden before the floods but now she doesn’t have the heart to work on it anymore

Mr and Mrs Dent say their outdoor furniture, flowers and statues are frequently caked in mud whenever their is a downpour. 

Now three years on and several floods later, Kent County Council have installed a drain in an attempt to resolve the issue.

But the couple say the damage has already been done, with several items needing to be replaced before they can enjoy the space again.

Mrs Dent, 59, said: ‘When it floods it’s like a waterfall coming in under 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.

‘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.’  

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. I want compensation because this has all got to be re-laid but nobody seems to care about the damage. Before everyone complimented my garden and now it’s a mess.’

Mrs Dent said the slit and mud left behind after the flood caused her to slip and jolt her back

The couple are now seeking compensation but claim nobody cares about their situation

The council said people have a responsibility to ‘protect their own properties’ in response to the flooding

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

If they are compensated Mr and Mrs Dent will put the money towards a new artificial lawn

The garden’s artificial grass has taken the brunt of the flood damage and allegedly turns to mud whenever it rains.

Mrs Dent said: ‘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.’

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.’

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