Legal threat after floods
Long Melford residents affected by flooding have been left looking at legal action following a dispute with Suffolk County Council.
After torrential rainfall on Sunday night and throughout Monday, a manhole cover blew off in the back garden of Dr David Goodliffe in New Road.
The resulting floodwater has destroyed much of the plant life in the garden, which Dr Goodliffe had displayed to 500 people just the day before, with his summer house also damaged.
Suffolk county councillor Richard Kemp’s orchard was also flooded. He and other residents are calling for action from Suffolk County Council but the council says it is the responsibility of the landowners to keep the local watercourse ditches and pipes, which act as surface and storm drainage for a number of streets, clear.
“This has been going on for three or four years. Before that it wasn’t a problem,” said Mr Kemp.
“It really does take up a huge amount of surface water, coming from Cordell Road, The Limes, Laurel Drive and Hall Street.
“I suppose more and more houses being built means more and more water.
“It’s not a gentle drip of water but a torrent.”
Matt Hullis, head of environment strategy at Suffolk County Council, said: “The responsibility for the culverted watercourse that runs behind the houses on New Road towards Liston Lane lies with each individual landowner.
“Suffolk County Council has the power to undertake works to manage flood risk from surface water run-off. The council also has powers under Section 25 of the Land Drainage Act to require a person impeding proper flow to remedy that condition.
“But, as there is no internal flooding or significant highway flooding there is no justification for using these powers.
“If the council did undertake any works using these powers they would seek to recover costs as the blockage is located on private land.”
Dr Goodliffe was angered by the lack of action by the council saying: “I despair at the lack of responsibility taken.
“There is no doubt that this is contaminated water, with street rubbish and wipes.
“I now have contaminated vegetables and dead vermin in my garden.”
Mr Kemp said the residents would now look into taking legal action and assessing what is causing the blockages, but said this could costs thousands of pounds.
He said: “It’s the old story of public life. The easiest way is to say ‘sorry it’s not my problem’.
“This isn’t the only problem in my area as a county councillor. There are problems in Alpheton and we are still not totally sorted in Lawshall.
“People are paying a huge amount for taxes and don’t seem to be getting fair dues for their money.”