Royston resident bemoans lack of action over flooding issues in the town

PUBLISHED: 15:08 15 August 2019

Some drains across the town were struggling after the heavy rainfall on Sunday. Picture: David Hatton

Some drains across the town were struggling after the heavy rainfall on Sunday. Picture: David Hatton

Archant

After heavy rain over the weekend resulted in blocked drains and flooding in Royston, one resident took it upon himself to go public with his concerns.

Greg Vaughan says it took him more than 30 minutes in the pouring rain to clear blocked drains between Morton Street and Green Street. Picture: Greg VaughanGreg Vaughan says it took him more than 30 minutes in the pouring rain to clear blocked drains between Morton Street and Green Street. Picture: Greg Vaughan

Greg Vaughan, who has lived on Morton Street since 2001, found himself wading through calf deep rain water on Sunday morning.

With high winds ripping through Cambridgeshire and North Herts over the weekend, the trees along Morton Street took a battering - leaving high numbers of leaves and seeds strewn across the roads.

Combined with heavy rainfall, the leaves and other debris from trees clogged the drains and caused flooding in Morton Street and Green Street - leaving Greg's cellar filled with rain water.

Greg spent 30 minutes clearing the blocked drains, but says he is not the only person on the street who suffers when flooding occurs.

Heavy rain caused road closures and disruption in the town on Sunday. Picture: David HattonHeavy rain caused road closures and disruption in the town on Sunday. Picture: David Hatton

He explains this isn't the first time he's been tasked with cleaning up what he describes as "inadquate drains," and he's growing increasingly frustrated.

He insists that he has sent several emails to North Herts District Council in the past seeking their help in pruning the nearby trees - which have caused drainage headaches for residents in the past.

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In an email addressed to district councillor Jean Green and North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, Greg said: "They [NHDC] say the trees are on private property and not their responsibility.

Heavy rain caused road closures and disruption in the town on Sunday. Picture: David HattonHeavy rain caused road closures and disruption in the town on Sunday. Picture: David Hatton

"But if debris from trees are causing the street to flood then surely they have a responsibility to force the owner to take appropriate action to reduce the risk of flooding?

"The result of the street flooding has caused the ingress of flood water into my cellar and I find this unacceptable."

Greg says he did consider a 999 call to Herts Fire and Rescue, but felt as though the council were better placed to fix a more permanent solution.

North Herts District Council has pointed Greg to Herts County Council, saying this matter falls under their jurisdiction.

Greg Vaughan says it took him more than 30 minutes in the pouring rain to clear blocked drains between Morton Street and Green Street. Picture: Greg VaughanGreg Vaughan says it took him more than 30 minutes in the pouring rain to clear blocked drains between Morton Street and Green Street. Picture: Greg Vaughan

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesperson said: "We are sorry to hear that Mr Vaughan's cellar was flooded. The torrential rain on Sunday morning was exceptionally severe, especially in Royston and the north of Hertfordshire. Our initial estimate is that over 40mm (an inch and a half) of rain fell over a five-hour period. It is to be expected that that there will be some flooding under such conditions as in places the volume of rainfall will greater than the ground can absorb and will exceed the capacity of the local drainage systems.

The county council will be using its powers as the Lead Local Flood Authority to investigate the flooding at the junction of Morton Street and Green Street to understand the causes of this and previous instances. The Flood Risk Management Team will be contacting the resident concerned and others in the neighbourhood who may have been affected to look into this further.

Residents should report any incidents of flooding or debris on the highway that they believe to be hazardous to us through our online fault reporting system at www.hertsdirect.org/highways. We would urge members of the public to plan ahead for how to protect yourself and your property from flooding. There's lots of advice and information on our website at www.hertsdirect.org/flooding

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