Concerns that heavy rainfall and more building could bring flooding to Bury St Edmunds

River Lark in Bury St Edmunds.''Picture Mark Westley ANL-160501-160321009
River Lark in Bury St Edmunds.''Picture Mark Westley ANL-160501-160321009
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Concerns that torrential downpours and increasing development in and around Bury St Edmunds could spell a recipe for flooding disaster have been raised.

The two rivers, the Lark and the Linnet, which run through the town could become overwhelmed should we experience extreme wet weather warns Alan Messum who records the amount of rainfall each month.

And he is joined by resident Simon Harding who is concerned at the impact of the Abbots Vale development planned for the south eastern edge of the town.

Mr Harding says that more and more development could impact on the ability of floodwater from the River Lark to run off. It would instead head downstream towards the town, threatening the Abbots Bridge at Eastgate Street.

Hopkins Homes and Pigeon have proposed up to 1,250 homes on land between Sicklesmere Road and Rougham Hill. The proposals include leaving the river floodplain as open space and installing sustainable drainage systems.

Mr Messum said that a potential deluge of 4ins - 100mm of rainfall over a couple of days in winter or spring would see problems with flooding from the Linnet and Lark

Readings he took on January 3 showed there had already been 15 mm of rainfall in three days.

In 1968 there was major flooding in parts of the town and the Lark overflowed Abbots Bridge. In February 2014 homes in Gardiner Close were flooded after the Linet burst its banks.

He said: “The whole concept of making Bury any bigger and developing it further is a worry, not to mention the impact of traffic.”

Mr Harding said he believes the Abbots Vale development will put pressure on areas of the Lark running donwstream towards the town. “I’m not against building the homes but feel they should go elsewhere. The Lark hasn’t got the tolerance. While I’m not saying it’s going to happen next week you can’t put that risk onto future generations.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the council was part of the Suffolk Resilience Forum which has a flood plan. “We have policies which safeguard against inappropriate development in flood risk areas.”