A SIMPLE invention which could prevent the misery of flooding suffered by thousands before Christmas has been thought up by a West Midlands man.

Now the 'Garastor' - the brainchild of Bryant Homes design engineer Stuart Courier - is being installed in 90 new homes at Worcester.

Mr Courier has been looking into ways of controlling flooding in housing estates, car parks and other areas where there is a huge amount of run off water.

Garage space

He came up with the idea of using the space under garages as a buffer for rainwater discharges and his simple invention, which has been tested over the last two years, is currently being installed in the new homes at Fernhill Heath.

At the heart of the invention is a simple, plastic non-mechanical control unit, measuring one metre in height, that regulates the flow of water into the drainage system.

Mr Courier, who comes from Halesowen, said that his invention would not stop the devastation caused when rivers flood, but it would help prevent the problems caused in urban and suburban areas.

"It's considerably cheaper than the present method of constructing balancing ponds which use up valuable land, create a potential safety hazard for children and can cause big problems if they fail," he said.

The Garastor has no electrical or mechanical parts and is extremely reliable needing little or no maintenance.

On brownfield sites, the Garastor could help alleviate the extra demand on existing drainage systems and could also help with water conservation as rainwater can be filtered, stored and used within households.

The Garastor is currently undergoing testing and accreditation at Edinburgh University and Mr Courier has applied for patents.