Flood-hit Kettering residents urged to fill in consultant's questionnaire ahead of East Brook Culvert public meeting
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Residents living near to Kettering’s underground river that regularly floods have been urged to tell drainage experts their experiences of living next to the East Brook Culvert.
Prior to a crunch meeting with flood-hit residents, Kettering Town councillors and North Northants councillors had been promised action to find the extent of the problem.
A meeting has been organised – a month later than promised – with residents invited to attend the council offices in Bowling Green Road on Tuesday, September 12 at 6pm.
Questionnaires from Martin Andrews Consulting Ltd (MAC) appointed by North Northamptonshire Council have been sent out to more than 550 households situated next to the culvert that divides Kettering from north to south under roads and homes.
A letter to residents from MAC said: “We need your help to establish historically where flooding has occurred and to the best of your knowledge when this has happened. At this stage we are trying to understand where flooding occurs.
“We have provided this letter to over 550 residents who live along the East Brook Culvert. However, should we have missed anyone who has been affected by flooding, we encourage you to share this letter with them.”
Flooding of The East Brook Culvert has affected residents living close to the low-lying area forming a brook that divides Kettering’s north to south – from Brambleside to the Pytchley Road Industrial Estate.
In July, a meeting organised by Kettering Town councillor James Towns saw more than 60 people directly affected by the floods highlight their frustrations and concerns at the decades-old problem which has still not been resolved.
Now, residents affected by flooding, either historic or more recent, have been asked to respond to the questionnaire to establish the areas that have been deluged.
Paper versions of the survey need to be returned by Friday, September 1 or an online version can be submitted by Tuesday, September 5.
People living next to the East Brook Culvert have been asked for details of flooding events and their views on how the water and sewage gets into their properties.
The public meeting will be hosted at North Northants Council’s Bowling Green Road site but due to the ‘limited capacity’, attendance will be on a ‘first-come-first-served basis’.
As well as residents and Kettering town and unitary councillors, North Northants Council’s flood and water officer, Ryan Keyte, will be on hand to hear the issues raised.
Cllr Paul Marks, speaking of the solution to the flooding, said: “It could cost millions – it depends on what needs doing. I’ve been told that sewage water goes into the storm water drains.
"There is a problem. The basic problem is that it (the drainage system) grew up bit by bit, higgledy-piggledy over decades. There’s more and more houses being built – it’s like trying to get a quart into a pint pot.
"Some of the floods may never have been recorded. Have they found the files? It’s got to be sorted out. There’s simply just too much building. There’s just so much pressure.”
Hazel Road resident Barry Smith will be attending the meeting. He has just installed his own flood defences in front of his family house that gets flood water coming through the front and back gardens into his home.
He said: “I have no confidence in the council. It’s only a matter of time before we flood again. Our situation is dire and urgent. I can’t sell my house. I hope to get insurance in the short-term and the long-term but we need something done about it now.
"I’ve just fitted my own barriers that cost me £2,000, a wall around my front door and plastic slot-in barriers. I’m lucky because I’m in the building trade and can do this.”
Mr Smith has been keeping his eyes on the weather forecast – thundery showers have been predicted for the weekend.
He said: “I’m hoping and praying that the weather forecast is wrong.”
Another resident who wishes to remain anonymous and whose health has been affected after sewage spilt into their property will not be attending the meeting.
They said: “It's all very well for NNC to tell us they're having meetings but they don't have to live with the effects when they go home.
"The culvert is being used well above the capacity that it was designed for.
"What has happened is that the safety factor has been reduced until we have ended up with surface flooding.
"They're just telling us the same old rubbish that we have been hearing for years.
"If the abuse of the culvert continues, at some point it will fail catastrophically.
"People need to report any illnesses they get after the flooding to their doctors.
"It’s really important that people report tummy bugs to their GPs and then to the environmental health at the council.
"These diseases can be transmitted to others – it’s not just the people directly involved with the culvert. They must be reported.”
The East Brook Culvert is a buried watercourse which runs through Kettering beginning near Brambleside to the north of Kettering and continuing southwards until it becomes an open watercourse again at the allotments accessed off Spring Rise.
To respond to the consultation click here.
Anyone with photos or videos of the flooding can send them to [email protected] quoting the address of the flooding in the subject line.
You can read the official flood investigation reports for Northamptonshire from 2011 and North Northants from 2020 onwards by clicking here.