Home-owners' frustration over lack of action to tackle street flooding
- Credit: Hillary Blake
Home owners forced to build extra flood defences to protect their properties during heavy rainfall are demanding action to resolve the problem.
A stretch of Drakes Drive opposite Richard Stagg Close in St Albans has been flooding for years, proving dangerous for drivers and pedestrians and leaving residents' gardens underwater.
Although officers from Herts Highways have been out to inspect the issue, nothing has been done, and during last Friday's torrential downpour the road flooded again.
Resident Michelle Madden says enough is enough and has contacted the Herts Ad for help.
She explained: "Cars and motorcycles drive on the footpath to avoid the water and it's impossible to safely leave your home when it's that high.
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"Children from Samuel Ryder Academy walk that route every day and I have often seen them soaked through by inconsiderate drivers, but we are all so very concerned that soon there will be a fatality or a serious accident.
"As you drive down the road you can't see the flood until you are almost on top of it. Many drivers brake suddenly and I have seen so many near misses it's absolutely terrifying."
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She said her next-door neighbour, a pensioner, rents a council home, and on Friday the water almost breached her property, leaving her in a state of distress.
"I appreciate there is no magic fix for the issue but at minimum when rain is forecast they should be out with flood signs and slow down signs and when it's as bad as it was last Friday they should be closing the road."
County councillor Anthony Rowlands has been pushing for HCC to take effective action for two years.
He said: "The county council appear oblivious to the risks caused by repeated and extensive flooding on one of the busiest roads in St Albans.
"Local residents are rightly completely frustrated by the lack of effective action.
"They are alarmed, as will the many people who use this road, by the obvious risks posed by the flooding: vehicles out of control, some drivers mounting the footway and the dangers posed to pedestrians and cyclists. They also have to endure filthy water lapping against their properties.
"I have pleaded with Cllr [Phil] Bibby, cabinet member for highways, to recognise the risks associated with his department not acting to deal with this problem. All we get are bland statements about the complexity of the issues. He fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation or to offer any timescale for remedial action."
In an email to residents seen by the Herts Ad, Cllr Bibby said: "It would get us nowhere debating what has or not been done at this site, as the overriding issue is that it has been identified for major work to make the drainage system fit for purpose...
"We will need to look at the possible flood implications in the area to understand where other stakeholders may be part of the wider drainage strategy.
"This investigation work will assist with the collection of data and design of an appropriate scheme.
"This is a complicated drainage issue that needs more detailed investigation to implement the most appropriate actions.
"I would mention that we have committed £10m over the next four years to improve our drainage and reduce flooding, and all possible schemes, including this one, will be considered and prioritised. We have many more issues around the county."
A spokesperson for HCC said: "We have drainage investigation works scheduled to take place on Drakes Drive next financial year.
"In the meantime we would encourage residents to report any flooding problems online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/highwayfaults Even if we can’t fix the problem straight away, we can use the information to help us plan our future work programmes."