Residents call for action on flooding

PUBLISHED: 12:31 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:54 12 May 2010

VICTIMS of severe flooding in Melbourn have met with councillors in a bid to combat the re-occuring problem. More than 40 residents met with parish councillors, county coun-cillors and Cambridgeshire Highways to call for action to prevent future flooding.

VICTIMS of severe flooding in Melbourn have met with councillors in a bid to combat the re-occuring problem.

More than 40 residents met with parish councillors, county coun-cillors and Cambridgeshire Highways to call for action to prevent future flooding.

In July, the village was hit severely by torrrential rain and in a two-hour period 75mm of rain fell - 80 per cent of the total rainfall for the entire month.

Michael Oakman, divisional maintenance engineer for South Cambs Highways, said: "Drain-age systems are designed to cope with 25mm of water so no system on earth would have coped with that."

Since then the gulleys have been cleaned and an investigation has been carried out.

Mr Oakman said: "We have a duty to maintain the highway drainage system."

Areas repeatedly affected by flooding include the High Street, The Moor, Greenbanks and Orchard Road.

Louise Carter, of Orchard Road, said: "Our home has been flooded three times in the past five years. There's no way we can cope with the volume of water."

One resident suggested that the council think about installing a new drainage system, which would cost about £100,000.

Mrs Carter said: "Some £40,000 of damage has been done to my home so £100,000 doesn't seem like a lot of money to me.

"We can't keep claiming on our insurance."

There were also concerns that the council does not have a proper maintenance regime and that blocked curbs are adding to the problem.

Ian Baker, of High Street, said: "Whose responsibility is it to clean out the curbs because if you take a look you can almost see a forest growing.

"All these things add up and create problems.

"If the drains are full of silt it will go down the drains, but if they were cleaned more often this wouldn't happen," he said.

New housing developments were also considered to be a contributory factor.

Pat Banks, of Orchard Gate, said: "Would it be possible to halt all the houses that are being built? We're having enough trouble getting rid of what we have already got and it's only going to get worse with climate change. Building has got to stop.

"We need to look at it from all angles not just be wacking concrete on."

Residents in neighbouring villages were also concerned.

Meldreth district councillor Susan van de Ven said: "We have a problem which has affected fewer households, but it's just as devastating and we're worried about the future."

Terry Hutt, of Whaddon, said: "I had never seen so much water. You needed a boat to get in and out of the village."

Melbourn parish councillor Bob Trimble said: "I hope from this we can go forward positively.

"But we do need a concerted effort to get all the gulleys clean. Once you get them cleaned then cleaning them once a month should be sufficent."

County councillor John Reynolds said: "We need to progress as quickly as we can. What I want to see is a long-term satisfactory solution."

# A £50,000 programme of im-provements are being carried out in Melbourn.

The work will include enhanc-ing the existing drainage at the junction of The Orchard and Mortlock Street.

The work is expected to be completed by Christmas.

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