Anglian Water pledge on flooding action

ANGLIAN Water (AW) has pledged to step up measures aimed at tackling North Walsham's repeated flooding problems.But a prominent campaigner fears the moves may be too little and come too late to prevent further misery for householders this summer.

FLOODED roads caused by the year's first summer downpour have sparked fears that not enough has been done to tackle repeated problems in North Walsham.

Harbord Close, Northfield Road, Kings Arms Street and the bottom end of Mundesley Road were all under water after heavy rain on Sunday evening, according to county councillor Paul Morse, who received a number of calls.

The news is a blow to residents who hoped recent work to improve the town's drainage system would protect them from a repeat of August 31 last year when more than 40 households suffered flooding after a freak storm, forcing some families to quit their homes while repairs were carried out.

Mr Morse has spent more than 18 months lobbying statutory bodies responsible for the town's drainage - Anglian Water (AW), North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council - for action.

He is especially frustrated that AW will not pay towards the town-wide drainage survey he believes is key to understanding what is wrong.

'No homes or gardens were flooded this time because the rain stopped. If it had carried on for another five or 10 minutes it could have been a different story. This just proves that we have still got problems and there is still work to do,' he said.

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AW has already pledged to examine the results of a �20,000 county council survey of Marshgate's drainage.

The firm has also told Mr Morse that it will ask its computer modelling team to look at drain capacity in the Acorn Road area.

And AW is explaining to Corbett Road residents how to check that their surface-water pipes are not mistakenly connected to the foul-water drains.

Mr Morse said: 'While I am slightly encouraged, they are clearly not interested in looking at North Walsham's systems as a whole.'

Mr Morse is again bringing AW and the two local authorities together for a meeting about the situation early next month. But he says progress is hampered by confusion over areas of responsibility, leading to buck-passing.

Sara Rowland, AW spokeswoman, said they had responded to every flooding matter brought to their attention and, where necessary, made improvements and alterations.

They would continue to work with other relevant agencies: 'in line with recommendations made by the Pitt Review which stated that local authorities should lead on the management of local flood risk…'

'This is an opportunity not to abdicate responsibility but to get better results by working together,' she said.