SuDS features built just in time for the wet weather!
Over the summer, our SuDS in Sutton’s Schools project constructed SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) in two local schools, Harris Junior Academy Carshalton and Muschamp Primary School. While we have already installed a large rain garden at the Denmark Road Sutton Council Offices, these sites have given us the opportunity to trial a wider range of features that will capture rainwater, relieve the pressure on our drains and reduce local flood risk.
Some of the newly installed features
Creating SuDS schemes within school grounds has presented us with a number of challenges and opportunities.
The first challenge has been designing schemes that enhance the school grounds without creating any conflicts with the current site use. Schools are busy places and space is incredibly valuable. By liaising closely with pupils and staff we have been able to develop features that meet their needs.
We have been particularly successful in greening the front of each school with rain gardens and planters to make them more welcoming to people and wildlife.
We have also designed features to address onsite flooding. Areas that have suffered from puddling have now been made usable because the SuDS features have been strategically placed to capture this excess water.
During a recent heavy downpour, the headteacher of Muschamp Primary School noted,
“Some initial big puddles but the boat area (where the swale is installed) was clear the whole time – amazing. The other puddles have drained away already to next to nothing.”
The other main challenge of the project was fitting construction around the school calendar. Waiting until the summer to build has presented us with an opportunity – the chance to involve pupils in the planting!
Autumn is a great time to get the new plants in. Cool temperatures, reliable rainfall and short, bright days help plants become established in their new setting. We recently held our first planting session with the pupils of Muschamp Primary and they loved it. They were very keen to get stuck in – with one pupil bringing his own gardening gloves from home!
We still have a busy autumn ahead of us. Some wildlife features – such as bug hotels and mini-beast seats – are to be installed shortly. There is still more planting to be done. In addition to getting the pupils at Harris involved, we also plan to engage the wider community. We are also busy recruiting new schools to the project. Despite the glum weather, the future is bright for SuDS in Sutton’s Schools!