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Rushmere: Residents ‘living in fear of rain’ after decade-long drainage problems floods gardens with sewage

PUBLISHED: 11:53 11 August 2014

Dan Poulter MP talking to residents from Rushmere St Andrew after they complained about flooding in the area.

Dan Poulter MP talking to residents from Rushmere St Andrew after they complained about flooding in the area.

Rushmere residents are kicking up a stink today in a bid to solve a decade-long drainage problem that has caused sewage to flood their gardens.

Authorities are facing increasing pressure to resolve the issue which has left homeowners living in fear of the rain.

Residents of The Street, Rushmere St Andrew, say the regular blockages causes sewage to cover their gardens and leaves standing water in the streets, soaking their homes when motorists pass by.

The problem, which is being blamed on Anglian Water and Suffolk County Council’s failure to clear drains or improve the pumping station, is said to have deteriorated over the past 10 years and is now at crisis point.

Sandy Howard, who lives opposite the worst of the flooding area, has demanded action be taken immediately to resolve the unbearable situation, which has crumbled her brickwork, drenched her home and left her garden “ankle deep” in sewage.

“I live in fear of the rain,” she said.

“It comes like a river and I cannot face another winter like the last.”

Despite claiming to have made numerous reports to Anglian Water and SCC, the 65-year-old widow said she has been “passed from pillar to post” by the authorities.

Not knowing where to turn next, she sought support from her MP Dan Poulter, who held crisis talks with the residents on Friday and said he would be calling on the authorities to resolve the problem urgently.

“It’s an unacceptable, intolerable situation and we cannot have it go on any longer,” he said.

“Young children in the village are paddling in sewage, which is flooding residents’ gardens and damaging their property.

“It’s a public health issue , it’s unacceptable and it’s been going on for far too long.”

Dr Poulter said Anglian Water had already made some inroads in clearing drains and he would be calling for SCC to take similar action as soon as possible. He will also be demanding a comprehensive study of the drainage system be carried out to address the long-term problem. A meeting, organised by Dr Poulter, is to be held next month when Anglian Water and SCC will be called upon to explain their solution to the residents.

Neighbours are hopeful the renewed calls will bring an end to 10 years of misery.

Linda Wood, who has lived in The Street since 1982, said the problem has worsened as the village’s growth was not matched by improved drainage.

Neighbour David Thirkettle, 67, blamed some of the problem on inconsiderate motorists using the road like a “rat run”.

Rushmere’s district councillor Mark Newton is also eager for the problem to be resolved.

“It makes life a complete misery for the residents,” he said.

“It’s just intolerable and there has to be a solution.”

A spokesman for SCC said: “SCC has been working for some time with partners to try and resolve this issue.

“We are committed to continue to do so. We welcome any initiatives to help with this process and would participate in any joint meeting.”

Anglian Water was unable to respond to requests for information.

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