Flood-hit villagers told of deadline

A flood-hit community has made plain its plea for urgent action after 25 years of unanswered public worries over sewage overflows in Ormesby.More than 50 villagers attended a public meeting on Monday which saw a packed hall become frustrated and impatient with Anglian Water's responses.

A flood-hit community has made plain its plea for urgent action after 25 years of unanswered public worries over sewage overflows in Ormesby.

More than 50 villagers attended a public meeting on Monday which saw a packed hall become frustrated and impatient with Anglian Water's responses.

A question and answer session homed in on various issues including the time-table for works, pumping station maintenance and the level of local house-building beyond sewer capacity.

Villagers were astonished to hear Adam Cooper, collection manager based at Whitlingham say the aim was to complete the £1.7m scheme by March next year, when it had yet to consult with the 17 landowners affected by the proposed new sewer or gain planning permission for the new pumping station at Thoroughfare Lane.


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Mr Cooper said AW had been told by the regulator four years ago to solve the problems in the village by 2009 but that there had been problems turning that into a reality, with Ormesby slipping on the back burner.

He admitted they were up against a tight deadline and that any delay could mean losing the funding.

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He said: “You have had a pretty poor service from Anglian Water. But the good thing is we are a profitable company and we can help you. The clean ups are not to the standard we would like and you have all suffered some financial loss. We do understand your anxiety and frustration.

“Ormesby is a big problem to us because it serves all the northern parishes. All the flows are pumped in to Decoy Road at speed. The system does not give us enough storage. It is at maximum capacity.”

The new pumping station and sewer would bring relief - the equivalent in road terms of having a bypass, he said.

Anthony Adeaja, project manager, said the scheme was progressing but had hit snags. He said flooding was due to the lack of capacity at the pumping station and that a new one in Thoroughfare Lane would take flows from Hemsby, Scratby, Winterton and Martham limiting flows to Decoy Road.

When the busy 40-year-old pumping station broke down up to 20 households were immediately affected but under the new scheme engineers will be able to get there before people notice, it was claimed, with Decoy Road having 70 to 80pc less work to do. The build time was estimated at around four and a half months with some villages unconvinced AW could do it in time and critical of delays.

Paul Reynolds who is regularly flooded in Chimney Springs was one of many people who stood up to have their say. “You are saying March 2009 but it has not even been before your directors. How can you make a statement like that?” he asked.

Adding to his concerns was the revelation that gardens could be contaminated with nausea-inducing germs for up to 21 days after a spillage.

And the son-in-law of a 94-year-old woman whose garage had been flooded four times this year spoke up to voice his dissatisfaction. Meanwhile a couple in Private Road who had £25,000 worth of damage due to flooding in 2006 were told the new system could not defend properties from a downpour on that scale.

Parish council chairman Geoff Freeman said locals were within their rights to withhold payment to AW as he had done. He said: “We have reached a watershed. We have got the message across. Their PR stinks. There has been a lot of anger and hurt but if this is not sorted more people will suffer. This might be the beginning of the end. We have got some pretty bold statements here tonight. Anthony and his team are on the case. On the parish council it will be an agenda item every month. We will do everything we can to push this one along.”

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