Hopes new flood defences in place in Bury St Edmunds’ Gardiner Close in October - if funding found

Gardiner Close, Bury St Edmunds, last year

Gardiner Close, Bury St Edmunds, last year - Credit: Archant

A flood defence scheme has been drawn up for a Bury St Edmunds road where homes were left just inches from ruin last year.

Ken Compton

Ken Compton - Credit: Archant

But Jeff Horner, flood and water manager for Suffolk County Council, said funding could not be sought from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for Gardiner Close because according to residents their living areas had not been flooded.

Mr Horner was speaking at a meeting of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury area working party earlier this week.

He said it is hoped a mound of earth - known as a bund - made of clay would be built in October, but currently the funding for the £20,000 scheme is up in the air.

Outbuildings and gardens in Gardiner Close were plunged underwater in February last year when the nearby River Linnet burst its banks.

Since then residents have been working hard to improve the close’s flood defences.

Mr Horner said: “We are working with residents, Anglian Water and St Edmundsbury to come up with how we can deliver the scheme cheaply and effectively.”

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The work will improve upon bunds that are already in place, as well as extending along Gardiner Close.

Ken Compton, who has lived there for about 30 years, said: “The plan is ideal, it will protect all the properties round here.”

He added: “Even if the river isn’t done [dredged], as long as the bund is done, we should be ok for a few years.”

Speaking of last year’s floods, he said his garage, outhouse and greenhouse were all affected and the water narrowly missed his home.

“It was the worst flooding we have had here,” he added.

He believed it was a “wake-up call” to get something done about the problem.

Sarah Stamp, county councillor for the area who joined residents for a meeting on the issue last week, said she had asked Anglian Water to do their bit and has also asked the borough council to contribute financially or in kind.

Independent councillor David Nettleton raised the issue of debris in the river in the Tower division area, but Mr Horner said clearing debris would send water quicker downstream and there could be a further flooding issue downstream.

“It is a tricky balance to make,” he said.

“Whether we would actually dredge the Linnet is another matter.”