Wellingborough flood victims left waiting as county council assesses need for flood investigation

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The flood water innundated town centre shops, businesses, a school and the museum

Northamptonshire County Council has still to decide if an official flood investigation will take place into Sunday afternoon's floods which left parts of Wellingborough town centre submerged.

A month's worth of rain fell on the town causing rivers to form in the streets that cascaded through workplaces, shops, businesses, a school and the town's museum.

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Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for Highways and Place at Northamptonshire County Council, said: “At present, it is too early to say definitively whether or not the flood event has met our threshold for carrying out an official flood investigation.

“We are currently in discussions with all flood risk management authorities to collect as much information as we can on the impact in the area.

“The information will be coming in over the coming days and we will need to assess each report as a matter of priority so that we can effectively coordinate our response in supporting the affected communities. The factors being investigated include rainfall intensity, locations and number of properties flooded.

“In the event that the threshold for an official investigation is not met, we still ensure that we provide bespoke feedback to any reports and enquiries we receive.

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“We are also aware that a severe storm of this nature can cause temporary issues with gullies not being able to cope with this volume of water landing over a short period of time.

Cambridge StreetCambridge Street
Cambridge Street

"The water that created the issue on High Street and Silver Street was due to the torrential rain that ran down hill and was cleared by the gullies quickly once the storm passed.

"Gullies on Wellingborough Silver Street and Sheep Street (between junction of Commercial Way and Oxford Street) were cleansed in September 2019 under a full road closure and the highway crews have been inspecting all of the reported sites today to check everything is functioning and that debris has not been washed into any gullies.

“In recent weeks, Northamptonshire County Council have been altering infrastructure related to Active Travel to improve the spaces in towns and on roads for walking and cycling and to help people social distance. Reports did come in to say that these measures had been affected by the heavy rain fall and that some barriers had moved. These have been checked to ensure they are still in place.

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“We ask that anyone affected by the flood event please report this through our ‘Report a Flood’ online form: https://www.floodtoolkit.com/emergency/report-flood/ “

Val Wilson co-director of Rutherfords Locksmiths in Market Street clears up one of the store roomsVal Wilson co-director of Rutherfords Locksmiths in Market Street clears up one of the store rooms
Val Wilson co-director of Rutherfords Locksmiths in Market Street clears up one of the store rooms

In April, Northants Telegraph's Local Democracy Reporter Sarah Ward revealed that Northamptonshire County Council's gully clearing service had been suspended apart from emergencies due to Covid-19.

A statement released at the time said: "Due to a reduction in staffing levels and Government guidance we are currently running an emergency/reactive service in Northamptonshire.

"Typically gully cleansing goes on throughout the day and night and includes an annual maintenance programme to make sure the rain water can run off the roads and into the sewer system. Blocked drains can cause waterlogged roads and lead to safety issues."

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