Needham Market: Concern over time taken over river flooding project

The River Gipping which has been prone to flooding in the past

The River Gipping which has been prone to flooding in the past - Credit: citizenside.com

Councillors have voiced concerns about the time taken to get important work done to help prevent flooding.

Needham Market was hit by severe flooding in May last year which caused devastation for homeowners.

Now with the autumn and winter seasons approaching there is concern not enough has been done to prevent future flooding.

The Environment Agency has been carrying out a survey of the town’s water network, including analysing river structures and bank levels.

But the town council has argued it is costing taxpayers too much money and is taking too long for results to be produced.

Town clerk Kevin Hunter said: “There’s no indication when the work is going to produce something tangible on the ground. We seem to be quite a way off that.”

Town councillor Josephine Lea said: “I am very concerned about the cost of the exercise which is unfinished. It seems a large amount of money for the amount we are getting.”

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District councillor Wendy Marchant also had concerns not enough river maintenance work is being done.

She said: “The Environment Agency do desilting of the hot spots but really it is not enough. It’s been a token amount.”

So far the agency’s flood investigation, including modelling, has cost more than £25,000.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “All of the work carried out to date is essential for the next phase of our investigation.

“This work continues to progress in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

“The next stage of the investigation will be to work with our partners and incorporate surface water inputs into our modelling, due to the complexity of flood risk in Needham Market. We hope to have some results to share with the local community in the next six months.”

The agency has been managing the work on behalf of the Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership.

Jane Burch, flood and coastal policy manager for Suffolk County Council, heads up the partnership.

She said: “I think we are all incredibly sympathetic to their concerns and we are working as hard as we can to sort this out.”