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Needham Market: Council’s flooding review criticised

16:26 03 December 2012

Needham Market

Needham Market

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A COUNCILLOR has criticised a council’s flooding review because she claims it will fail to address a “major issue” in Needham Market.

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Wendy Marchant, a Mid Suffolk District councillor for Needham Market, said people needed sandbags when her town was hit by severe flooding in May.

Mid Suffolk is currently conducting a review into the flooding but she claims it will not look to provide people with sandbags.

Mrs Marchant praised the council’s review for dealing with the authority’s immediate response to flooding but said more had to be done to prevent the devastation happening again.

“Mid Suffolk’s plans seem to be more responsive action but what we have been doing is arranging meetings with the Environment Agency to get preventable measures for the River Gipping to stop flooding in the area,” she said.

Mrs Marchant claimed homeowners were not aware of the sandbag policy and when the flooding struck, people were told to “find your own”.

She said: “When you find out in the middle of the night, it’s difficult to get any sandbags.

“The sandbags could have diverted the water in other directions and protected the homes from being flooded. They can be very helpful in an emergency. The Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership have suggested getting flood boards but the cost for two boards is about £600 – how many people can afford that?

“I’m putting quite a bit of pressure on the partnership, and it’s like putting your head against a brick wall.”

The Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership is made up of Suffolk County Council, district councils and other stakeholders including the Environment Agency.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, who lead the partnership, said: “All councils in Suffolk have agreed not to supply sandbags on account of their limited effectiveness at preventing flooding to individual properties. This is because most homes have multiple ways in which water can enter, including through drains and utility points, and sandbags are rarely effective at preventing this.

“Suffolk County Council’s flood team, together with the Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership, of which Mid Suffolk District Council is an active partner, is investigating the flooding that occurred in Needham Market and is looking at a range of solutions.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk declined to comment but referred to the county council’s comment.

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