Beyton villagers hope for solution to long-running flood problem

Friday, 24 April, 2009

A flooding problem which has blighted Beyton since the 1970s could finally be resolved.
Villagers face impassable two-foot deep floods in Thurston Road every time there is heavy rain.

"There were people down here that couldn't get to work for three days when it flooded earlier this year. You have children that can't get to school. It is quite serious," said Mid Suffolk district councillor Rod Scott.

He has lived in Thurston Road since 1949, when he was three years old.

Together with fellow ward councillor Derrick Haley, Cllr Scott and the parish council have been pressing for years to get the flooding issue resolved.

Cllr Scott said the flooding problem began after nearby Stennett's pit was filled in and the A14 built in the 1970s.

Although the low lying land was always susceptible to some flooding, Cllr Scott said the water would only reach a manageable six inches, before draining away into the pit and then the soil.

Now the floods reached depths of two feet, which not many vehicles could get by, he said.

"Earlier this year we had traffic coming off the A14 and the police had to come and back them up because only the lorries would be able to get through.

"It was an absolute nightmare," he said.

Cllr Haley said: "The village gets virtually cut off. People have long detours. It causes so many problems."

He said Suffolk County Council had now agreed to clear the culverts more regularly, while a longer term solution was sought.

But Cllr Scott believes the only long-term solution will be if the county council bought some land and created an area for the water to run into.

Cllr Jon Rapley, chairman of the parish council said: "It has been a long-running saga. It is extremely frustrating and we are looking forward to a resolution of the problem."

He said other villages which used the road are also affected.

MP David Ruffley has called on the county council to make the flooding issue a high priority.

"This flooding has been going on for decades. It is time to put an end to all the inconvenience suffered by local residents who use this road," he said.

A county council spokeswoman said: "While it is not the county council's responsibility we, as highway authority, are very willing to work with others in a multi-agency approach to address the flooding issues and resolve the problem as quickly as possible."