Home owners’ insurance fears delaying Bury flood work

Fire crews pump water away from homes in Gardinder Close  in February 2014 ENGANL00120140702114004
Fire crews pump water away from homes in Gardinder Close in February 2014 ENGANL00120140702114004

Residents denying their homes were flooded, to avoid higher insurance costs, are delaying work to stop their homes being swamped in future, a floods expert has said.

A multi-agency investigation into February 2014’s flooding in Gardiner Close, Bury St Edmunds, has revealed that an improved bund (embankment) should protect the houses, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury Area Working Party was told on Tuesday.

Flooding in  Gardiner Close in February 2014. ENGANL00120140702122717

Flooding in Gardiner Close in February 2014. ENGANL00120140702122717

But Jeff Horner, Suffolk County Council’s flood and water manager, told them they could not get a grant for flood defence work because the water did not enter any homes.

However, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger showed him a photograph of flooding inside a home and Cllr David Nettleton said he had seen houses flooded there in the past.

Mr Horner said: “We ask residents if there is flooding in their houses and if they say ‘yes’ it affects their insurance, but if they don’t say ‘yes’ we can’t get the grant.”

He said the agencies involved recognised that the houses would flood if ‘help wasn’t at hand’. In February the fire service pumped water away from homes.

Mr Horner said the bund would cost about £20,000 and they were looking at free or low cost sources of suitable clay. He said that if they can find the right clay, work can start in October.

Cllr Nettleton asked about clearing and dredging the River Linnet to speed the flow, but Mr Horner said to do that would require £60,000 of hydraulic modelling to check the effects down stream.