Appeals for help as floods threaten Little Welnetham home

Ian Smith is worried about the stream flooding alongside his home in Little Welnetham
Ian Smith is worried about the stream flooding alongside his home in Little Welnetham

A Little Welnetham couple are worried their dream cottage could be ruined and lives could be put at risk because of flooding.

Ian Smith and his partner Claire Gouge have made a desperate plea to neighbours, Suffolk County Council, the Environment Agency and Jo Churchill MP, to help out.

In April 2016, they suffered severe flooding at their cottage in Sudbury Road causing £86,000 of damage.

Suffolk County Council carried out drainage works but the couple say there is still a build up of water outside their home which could also prove dangerous for motorists.

The couple are also fearful that a stream which runs past their cottage could burst its banks as they say it is not being properly maintained by all those living alongside it.

“Last week there was water coming down our drive from the road as the drains were overflowing, and the stream was also fit to burst,” said Ian, 39, an electrician.

“We called the police, the flood helpline but no-one was answering.

“We keep our section of the stream clear and are demanding action from the council to sort out the road before our home is devastated again.”

The stream running past the couple’s cottage is known as an ‘ordinary watercourse’, for which residents living alongside are responsible.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, said: “An officer visited the property owners at the time of the original flood to collect information and offer advice.

“Our officer wrote to the homeowners to give information on rights and responsibilities of landowners with a watercourse running through their land.

“We confirmed that an officer from Suffolk County Council would be their main point of contact as the lead local flood authority for 
governing ordinary watercourses.”

Jo Churchill said: “I have raised this case directly with Suffolk County Council on Mr Smith’s behalf.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We will make arrangements to visit the A134 and ensure the drainage system is thoroughly clean and working as designed.

“Upkeep of the stream is a private matter, but we will be sending a letter to all residents reminding them of their responsibilities as riparian landowners to maintain upkeep and make sure it is operationally functional.”