Flood risk sites don’t scratch surface

The block of flats in The Spike, Saffron Walden, where firefighters evacuated 10 people by boat in F

The block of flats in The Spike, Saffron Walden, where firefighters evacuated 10 people by boat in Feburary 2014. - Credit: Archant

The areas in town most at risk from flooding could receive extra funding to help prevent future calamities.

Saffron Walden town councillors were asked to pin-point three sites they thought most at risk from surface water flooding, after Essex County Council (ECC) said it was looking “to invest additional resources to prevent rainwater flooding of homes in Essex”.

The site adjacent to the Slade, Thaxted Road from its junction with Peaslands Road to its junction with Victoria Avenue, and the area round Elizabeth Way, the Spike and Lavendar Fields, received the most votes from councillors and will be submitted to ECC for consideration.

Last year, homes in Lavender Fields and The Spike were flooded when the Slade watercourse broke its banks above the entry to the culvert underneath Elizabeth Way for the first time.

In the meeting on Thursday night, the council asked the Mayor to write separately to Essex County Council regarding the longstanding flooding issues on Little Walden Road, which have regularly made the road impassable.

“It seems to me quite wrong that we should be expected to identify three sites when there are many more,” said town councillor Mike Hibbs.

“There seems to be some confusion about who is responsible. County Highways have a responsibility to remove surface water from the road - it is their job.

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“It seems to be incredibly short-sighted to tinker at the edges,” he added.

As a Lead Local Flood Authority, ECC is responsible for investigating flood incidents in certain circumstances, regulating the maintenance of watercourses with landowners, and working with other authorities to mitigate local risks.

This week, work started on clearing the town’s culvert of debris, which will enable an assessment of the risk the river Slade poses to the town. Work is likely to start on the culvert this summer.