Flood victim says agency must get on with repairs

The area around Hawks Mill in Needham Market was hit by severe floods in May
The area around Hawks Mill in Needham Market was hit by severe floods in May
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The Environment Agency is taking too long over repairs to a river which burst its banks this year, according to a man whose home was flooded.

Gordon Crosby’s house in Hawks Mill was damaged after ‘once in a 1,000 year’ floods hit Needham Market in May when the river Gipping overflowed.

Work by the Environment Agency (EA) to de-silt the river was due to begin in October after it secured £200,000 from the Government for the project.

That work was put off until Monday, but had still not begun, according to Mr Crosby.

“They were supposed to cut down the weeds, most of which have now died down for the winter, clear the really bad bits of silt and then they can have a good look at what needs to be done.

“So here we are, now seven months after the worst floods in living memory and they still do not have the full plan of what they are going to do,” he said.

Mr Crosby said the heavy rain of the last week had brought on ‘trepidation and anxiety’ following May’s events.

A Freedom of Information request by Mr Crosby also revealed that despite surveys carried out over the last three years identifying areas of improvement, no work had been done.

Wendy Marchant, Mid Suffolk District councillor, said dialogue with the EA was ongoing.

“I think they are doing their best to deal with it now.

“We really need to carry out these preventative measures because people’s homes are at risk from flooding,” she said.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency insisted that work had begun and would be completed by the end of the financial year.

“We have already completed the planned weed cutting on the River Gipping.

“Our maintenance programme continues and de-silting of the river starts at the beginning of December.

“The funding that we have in place will enable us to complete all planned work to areas of high risk along the river,” he said.