Fenland MP steps in to help March flood victim

Steve Barclay MP visiting Peter Bains of Lime Ave March who has been flooded 4 times
Steve Barclay MP visiting Peter Bains of Lime Ave March who has been flooded 4 times

Urgent action has been promised to residents of a March street plagued by flooding after Fenland MP Steve Barclay stepped in to help.

Anglian Water has pledged to investigate why Lime Grove keeps flooding after one homeowner’s property was swamped for the fourth time in five years during last month’s flash flooding.

The company said it will carry out an in-depth CCTV survey of the sewers and surrounding area, and if any sewer damage is found it will be rectified as a matter of priority.

North East Cambridgeshire MP Mr Barclay had called for urgent action from Anglian Water after he was contacted by Lime Grove resident Peter Baines.

The 81-year-old claims he has been trying to get the company to repair a broken sewer he believes is responsible for flooding his home with effluent, for more than ten years, but to no avail.

At a meeting with the MP last Friday, Mr Baines told how he and his wife were called home early from a holiday in Norfolk because their home was flooded with around two feet of water when March was hit with a deluge of unusually heavy rainfall on Friday, August 8.

Mr Baines explained that Anglian Water had previously carried out investigations to find the cause of flooding problems in Lime Grove and discovered the sewer running along nearby Robingoodfellows Lane had been damaged during work in the past.

He said: “They put cameras down at least ten years ago and discovered the sewer was damaged, but haven’t done anything about it. They said they needed to find out who had caused the damage so they could be billed for the repairs, but that seems the wrong way round to me.

“I have been on at them since the floods happened again and they eventually sent someone out to see me and they have promised to put the cameras down again. But I was told that unless it is completely broken, they won’t be doing anything and that is not good enough.”

Mr Barclay said: “It is over ten years since Anglian Water were first alerted to the problems in Lime Grove. Properties have flooded four times since then. We have long gone past the point where further investigations are needed. Anglian Water need to deal with this issue now and make it a priority.”

Since the matter was raised last week, Anglian Water has pledged to take action.

A spokesman said: “We know flooding of any kind is devastating and we are sorry that Mr and Mrs Baines have been affected by the severe storms that hit the region earlier this month.

“Having visited the customers last week, we will be carrying out an in-depth CCTV survey of the sewers and the surrounding area, and we have reassured Mr Baines that if any sewer damage is found, we will of course rectify it. We have also promised to let him know when we are doing the survey so he can view the results first hand.

“We invest half a million pounds every day maintaining and improving our network to prevent problems like flooding, and we will of course take steps to address any issues we are responsible for. However, this was an exceptional storm and the flooding that occurred was, regrettably, a result of the sheer volume of intense rainfall from the tail end of the hurricane.

“We are working with other organisations who share responsibility for the wider drainage network, such as highways and the Environment Agency, and the Lead Local Flood Authority to understand what more can be done to cope with such extreme weather conditions and what lessons can be learned.”

Mr Barclay has been dealing with numerous complaints and issues arising from the floods, including problems with insurance companies taking too long to assess damage, and also with an elderly couple who needed to be rehoused because their bungalow had flooded for a second time.

He said: “It has been stressful and upsetting enough for those people affected by the floods, without them having to deal with extra difficulties on top, such as problems with insurers. So I have been happy to help. If there are others out there who need help then I would urge them to get in touch with me via the constituency office in March.”

The office can be contacted on 01354-656635.