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MP tells council to take responsibility for Ardleigh flooding
12:30pm Tuesday 6th August 2013 in News
NORTH Essex MP Bernard Jenkin has warned a legal battle between a council and residents could cost council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Mr Jenkin has also written to Tendring District Council urging it to take responsibility for the damage caused by floods which gutted a family’s home twice in the last 15 months.
Flooding first struck Tim Woodgett’s home in May 2012 after record overnight rainfall caused a culvert to block, releasing 64,000 litres of water into the family’s Grade II-listed home.
The family was left homeless for six months while the water was pumped from the historic home, in Colchester Road, Ardleigh, and repairs made.
When they moved back in, in December 2012, floods struck again, destroying much of the kitchen.
Now, after an investigation conducted by the Environment Agency, experts have concluded a constricted culvert, maintained by Tendring District Council, is to blame.
“I have no doubt Tendring District Council is responsible for resolving the causes of the flooding,” said Mr Jenkin, MP for North Essex.
“There is no doubt Tendring is liable and I am absolutely certain Mr and Mrs Woodgett should not be liable.”
Mr Jenkin has also called on the authority to compensate the family for losses not covered by their insurance, amounting to thousands of pounds.
He added: “A lengthy dispute will only add to cost and delay, possibly by hundreds of thousands of pounds and council tax payers would be the losers.”
Mr Woodgett, a project manager in London, added: “It seems utterly clear to us that Tendring is liable and responsible for this culvert and should carry out the necessary actions to address the overall issue.”
The report, by the Environment Agency, highlights a constriction in the system, with run-off areas less than half the size of what they should be, stating: “The 300mm diameter culvert is a constriction at this location.”
It adds even a 600mm culvert may not be big enough.
It concludes: “This limiting capacity is further compounded by highway drainage discharging into the culvert and vegetative debris entering the culvert and causing a blockage.”
But Peter Halliday, Tendring District Council leader, said: “I would say I am disappointed with what I have seen so far given the effort I have personally made to resolve this.
“I cannot – and will not - say more than that at this stage as there has been a reference to possible legal action and therefore it would be wrong to comment any further.”
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