By Nick Gill
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
AN ONGOING flooding problem which has caused sewage to spill on to a Letchworth GC nature reserve has been labelled as “unacceptable” by the town’s MP.
North East Herts MP Oliver Heald, who represents Letchworth GC, has spoken out against the “unpleasant situation” residents face every time there is heavy rainfall at Norton Common because it results in a local sewer backing up.
The flooding, which was raised to Mr Heald by the Friends of Norton Common and has occurred on several occasions in the last five years, has been investigated by North Herts District Council (NHDC) who have reported the matter to Anglian Water and the Environment Agency, but to no avail.
Mr Heald, who has now written to Anglian Water’s managing director and the Environment Agency area manager pressing for action, said: “The Friends of Norton Common are very unhappy about the flooding during periods of heavy rainfall and this is clearly an unpleasant situation for local residents.
“I have therefore taken this up at the highest level with Anglian Water and the Environment Agency. Clearly matters cannot go on like this.
“Norton Common is one of the most cherished open spaces in the Garden City and is used by cyclists and pedestrians. This sort of flooding is unacceptable.”
Barbara Crombie, secretary for the Friends of Norton Common, added: “It’s been going on for four or five years now. Whenever we get storm waters the drains at the Common back up and spill raw sewage.
“The council are aware of it but they’ve never been able to get the water board to fix the problem. It’s totally unacceptable - it’s a local nature reserve.
“It’s happened over the last three years four or five times and until they (the water board) spend a bit of money to fix it, it will continue.”
Ms Crombie also raised concerns about a path which had been newly laid by NHDC but has been eroded away as a result of flooding last August, adding: “With the current financial situation at the council, who is going to pay for its repair?”
A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “We are aware of the flooding on Norton Common and do understand the concerns of local people and Mr Heald.
“Anglian Water does take sewer flooding very seriously and we are currently looking into what can be done to solve the problem.”