Flooding issue in Long Melford is 'accident waiting to happen', villagers warn
Persistent flooding in Long Melford caused by drain blockages is an “accident waiting to happen”, villagers have warned.
Melford residents face an anxious wait to see if recurring problem drains in Hall Street will withstand the impending rainy season, after Suffolk Highways promised this week that they have been unblocked, following multiple flood reports.
Approximately eight to ten inches of water settled for three to four hours around Hall Mill Bridge on Sunday, September 23, due to drains overflowing following a period of heavy rainfall, resulting in a number of near-misses between traffic.
Paul Jarrett, co-owner of The Mill bed and breakfast, made a 101 call to Suffolk Police, after seeing vehicles swerve suddenly as they encountered the water, but he was told it was a matter for Suffolk Highways.
He explained that it was a serious road safety issue, because the blind hump on Hall Mill Bridge means traffic cannot see the water until the last moment.
“The thing that worries me the most is that across the humpback, there is a pedestrian path,” he said. “It would only need a car to hit the water and skid off the road. It wouldn’t take much for there to be a serious accident.
“The level of traffic on this road is phenomenal. Traffic goes over the bridge at speed, and they don’t adhere to the limit.”
Following the flooding incident, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Highways said work to address the problem took place on Friday.
“We looked into the reports and concerns of flooding along Hall Street and arranged for 11 gullies to be cleared,” she said. The clearing has been completed.
“Although this should alleviate the problems, we will monitor the drainage and look into potential future work if required.”
On Monday evening, parish and district councillor John Nunn said he inspected Hall Street and could not confirm if every drain was clear, but he would take the county council at its word, adding: “Time will tell.”
Emails seen by the Free Press indicate the blocked drain issue in Hall Street was reported on June 9, but Suffolk Highways said at the time it did not warrant remedial action – a conclusion that Cllr Nunn and Mr Jarrett strongly disagreed with.
Cllr Nunn said: “I am pleased that, after previously denying the drains and culverts needed attention, we have now had some action that may prevent more problems in the winter.”