Needham Market: Councillor Wendy Marchant calls flood meeting ‘unbelievable’

A COUNCILLOR has said it was “unbelievable” that officers who attended a flooding meeting didn’t know which houses had been affected.

Wendy Marchant, a district councillor for Needham Market, made the claims in a Mid Suffolk District Council meeting last week about officers from the authority.

Mrs Marchant said a flooding meeting held in Needham Market should have focused on problem solving after the town was hit by severe floods in May.

The council chamber heard Mrs Marchant claim that Anglian Water, a partner of Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership (SFRMP), who organised the event, failed to send anyone to the meeting.

“The attitude of some of the [council] officers was surprising,” Mrs Marchant said.

“It was unbelievable that they didn’t know which homes had been flooded. This event happened at the beginning of May nearly five months ago. If they didn’t know, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to find out.

“Some Mid Suffolk officers, and the police, were there on the night of this flooding event in any case.

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“In addition it looked as if one agency didn’t know what the other agency was doing. Surely this should have been about problem-solving. Establish the problem, and then the solution – this isn’t what was being done at this flood workshop.”

At the council meeting fellow Needham Market district councillor Mike Norris said: “I just found the whole thing not very helpful and very disappointing.”

Councillor John Matthissen also spoke at the council meeting: “A lot of the public turned up and realised that things were not being dealt with as best as they could be.”

Heavy rainfall caused severe flooding to properties in several of the town’s streets after the River Gipping burst its banks in May.

Last month the Environment Agency allocated �200,000 for maintenance work to the river which runs next to Needham Market.

The work includes include channel clearance, desilting, vegetation clearance, weed-cutting and invasive species treatment.

Mrs Marchant said she was hopeful the work would help to solve the town’s flooding problem.

The SFRMP includes the partners, Suffolk County Council, the Environment Agency, Mid Suffolk and Suffolk’s Joint Emergency Planning Unit.