Flood fear remains
Residents say not enough has been done to reduce the risk of more flooding in Southwell.
Six months after streets were waist-deep in water residents are disappointed at the progress of organisations including Nottinghamshire County Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Severn Trent Water on resolving issues that contributed to the floods.
Mr and Mrs Anthony Hustwayte’s home in Harvey’s Field, Southwell, was flooded when the nearby Potwell Dyke burst its banks.
Mr Hustwayte (61) a semi-retired builder, and his wife, Mrs Marjorie Hustwayte (62) lived in a caravan on the drive while the house was refurbished. They moved back in last month.
Mr Hustwayte said the county council was not doing enough to ensure the dyke was properly cleared.
“It is a concern that precious little seems to have been done,” he said.
The council has been criticised for failing to identify the owner of a field at the back of the former Minster School on Church Street, through which the dyke runs.
The owner of the field is responsible for ensuring the dyke remains clear of debris and vegetation.
Mr and Mrs Hustwayte said they knew people who were still in rented accommodation because refurbishment work had not started on their homes.
Mr Hustwayte said he was afraid the floods would return.
“Every time it rains your heart leaps and you wonder if it’s going to be the next flood,” he said.
The county councillor for Southwell, Mr Bruce Laughton, said he expected the council to take the lead in clearing ourt Potwell Dyke.
A town and district councillor, Mr Brendan Haigh, was worried agencies were not working together.
He said the district council, which has a statutory responsibility to ensure watercourses are kept clear, would have to be much stronger in taking enforcement action against landowners who failed to clear blockages.
Another concern was sewage emerging in the Leeway Road and Kirklington Road area.
Severn Trent carried out a survey of the sewerage system under the town but residents are unhappy that the results will not be released until the spring.
The chairman of the town council, Mrs Beryl Prentice, said: “These issues keep happening. It was not just the rains in June. The drains have flooded over many years.”
No one from Severn Trent was available to comment.
Meetings are planned at which the various agencies will be invited to report back to residents.
Mrs Prentice said: “These agencies have been given the message that we need more action.”
A spokesman for the county council said: “The county council owns a minority part of the field alongside Potwell Dyke and is keen to address any problems with this section.
“We are trying to arrange a meeting with other landowners, Newark and Sherwood District Council, Mr Bruce Laughton and some residents to discuss a way forward.
“However, the county council is unaware who owns all the sections of the field and has no greater powers than anyone else to try to find this out.
“The district council has statutory powers to serve notice on landowners and enforce them to comply with any measures.
“If the district council were to use these powers and co-ordinate the overall process, the county council will be happy to co-operate with any measures it recommends to improve the flooding situation.”
More by this authorPeter Harris
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