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Walpole St Peter residents feel ‘ignored’ by Norfolk County Council as elderly man’s son is forced to spend £15,000 on flood prevention on Walnut Road





Residents of a village feel as though they are being ignored by the council as they battle to save their homes from repeated flooding.

Since 2020, two homes on Walnut Road, Walpole St Peter, have suffered water damage, leaving the owners in distress as they fork out for repairs and prevention methods and grieve the loss of sentimental items.

Each suspects that the main cause of the floods is a ditch, which used to redirect the water, that was filled in to build the Hill Farm Lane housing development and they believe the council has not done enough to install proper drainage systems in the area to combat this.

Jonathan Fowler, 47, and his father John Fowler, 83, feel as though the lack of help is not acceptable.
Jonathan Fowler, 47, and his father John Fowler, 83, feel as though the lack of help is not acceptable.
Jonathan has spent £15,000 on soakaway pits
Jonathan has spent £15,000 on soakaway pits

John Fowler, 83, lives alone and first came across the problem on Boxing Day 2020 when he woke up to his house under almost three inches of water which resulted in the fire service being called to pump it out.

His property then flooded again on January 2 of this year and his son Jonathan, 47, who lives four hours away in Sussex, was told by drainage engineers that his best bet would be to dig soakaways in his garden (deep pits that disperse the water into the surrounding soil).

Mr Fowler’s son has now spent close to £15,000 on the pits hoping it would cope with the water, but has since discovered the issue has still not been rectified.

“I feel powerless as I live so far away,” he said.

“It’s not acceptable for the council to let something be planned that causes flooding, and it is also not acceptable to do nothing about an 83-year-old man with heart problems and kidney cancer living in these conditions – it’s not good for his physical and mental health.”

He says that the house will now need to be dried, have the floorboards lifted, and walls stripped and have skirting and electrics replaced.

Sophie Fernandez, 22, and Elizabeth Fernandez Proffit, 26, have been battling the issue for months.
Sophie Fernandez, 22, and Elizabeth Fernandez Proffit, 26, have been battling the issue for months.

Another resident Elizabeth Fernandez Proffit, 26, lived in the village with her sister Sophia, 22, but has since had to leave to live with her grandfather in Luton due to the unsafe conditions of their home.

The siblings inherited the house after their mother passed away from bowel cancer in October 2021 and they too have been burdened by inches of water in their homes following two flooding incidents in less than two months.

Elizabeth has been driving to the house most weekends to try and get rid of the water and humidity but there has already been damage to the property and her late mother's belongings.

“I can barely sleep, I'm constantly stressed, have mood swings and end up crying out of desperation I just don’t know what to do,” she said.

“I’m having to put my life on pause, I have to rely on the kindness of people to get to by day to day and it’s really affecting my life, I feel like I’m being completely ignored.”

Elizabeth has been in contact with the Water Management Alliance Organisation which carried out an investigation and concluded: “The only option to remove surface water would be to use a soakaway or surface water drain.”

Both families say that they have reported the incidents to Norfolk County Council and are waiting on a report, which could take up to a year, but they fear that they cannot wait that long.

A spokesperson for NCC said: “We are aware of the challenges that some residents are facing in Walpole St Peter, our team have been in contact regarding what measures can be taken to reduce flood risk.

“The fact is that extremely high levels of rainfall have created issues across the country, and recent flooding has been exacerbated by the saturated ground.

The flooding has caused damage to Elizabeth and Sophie's home
The flooding has caused damage to Elizabeth and Sophie's home

“We are investigating alternative drainage solutions that could protect vulnerable areas of Walnut Road: we’ll be keeping residents informed of any plans that are drawn up before being implemented.”



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