Residents in Buckingham have been left without the use of their underground car park for weeks, as it is sitting under three inches of water.
The flooded car park at Candleford Court, a 103-home development in the centre of Buckingham, has caused headaches over Christmas, and now some residents are threatening to boycott the maintenance charge demanded by housing developer Guinness.
One resident, wishing to remain anonymous, said: “We’ve had to deal with this for three years now and we’ve had enough. Residents have to pay a service charge, on top of rent, which includes maintenance of the car park and the communal areas – all run by Guinness. They’re absolutely useless.
“They built the underground car park too low and whenever the river gets high it causes flooding. They tried to solve that problem by sealing the edges around the bottom of the space, but that’s caused more issues as the water now can’t escape as easily once it gets in. It’s essentially a swimming pool.”
North Bucks experienced slight flooding on December 27, when heavy rain caused the River Great Ouse to overflow.
Despite alerts issued by the Met Office, no property damage was expected as a result of the flooding.
One resident explained: “The work that has been done on making the car park watertight doesn’t factor in any water that rises from below. The water that’s there is trapped and won’t just disappear. Could we not have a drainage system? I think they just need to raise it up somehow.
“To get to my car I have to put my wellies on. We’ve had no lift over Christmas, the most annoying alarm ringing constantly, there’s been sewage leaks, water running down the stairwells and in the lift shaft. It’s beyond ridiculous.”
In a letter sent to residents, Guinness told residents engineers will soon be on site to resolve problems.
It stated: “If you have a car in the basement car park and you are concerned about the water causing damage to your car, it may be worthwhile moving the car to the road.”
Residents feel, however, that this advice by Guinness has caused more problems as they’re now fighting for space on congested roads around the development.
One resident said: “The cars that would have been parked underground are now on the street, blocking the entrance to the car park and making it difficult to get around.”
Another resident, also wishing to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser that the out-of-action lift has left residents with disabilities struggling to access their homes at their leisure.
A spokeswoman for The Guinness Partnership said: “We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the flooding of the car park at Candleford Court.
“We began pumping water out of the car park yesterday, but it may take a few days for the water to be fully cleared. We have contacted customers to let them know what action we are taking.”
Guinness say that the car park is designed to flood when groundwater levels and the river rise, in order to reduce the risk of flooding to nearby homes. The flooding should drain away quickly.
Due to a period of wet weather "followed by Storm Eleanor", however, it’s taking longer than usual for the floodwater to recede.