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Savage cuts threat to sewage funding

PUBLISHED: 10:28 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:29 30 June 2010

Kenneth Cheney sweeping the road outside his house in Waters Lane, Hemsby

Kenneth Cheney sweeping the road outside his house in Waters Lane, Hemsby

VILLAGERS have reacted with anger to the prospect Hemsby will remain unequipped and unfunded to deal with its sewage flooding problem.

Just last month residents had to put up with sewage pouring out of manholes, lapping at the steps of houses on Waters Lane and cascading down Yarmouth Road.

VILLAGERS have reacted with anger to the prospect Hemsby will remain unequipped and unfunded to deal with its sewage flooding problem.

Just last month residents had to put up with sewage pouring out of manholes, lapping at the steps of houses on Waters Lane and cascading down Yarmouth Road. The scenes follow years of repeated sewage issues in the area, and calls from members of the community for something to be done about the inadequate pumping facilities.

Now cuts in Anglian Water's budget for the next five years imposed by the industry regulator mean it is having to prioritise where it spends its money - with the likely prospect Hemsby will suffer.

Borough councillor Shirley Weymouth had originally been told a decision about funding for the area would come in December. However, regulator Ofwat's rejection of Anglian's proposals means a final decision on where cuts to planned works will fall is unlikely to come before April.

She said: “I'm absolutely appalled. We've had such massive problems and the people in this village have suffered enough for it to go on any longer. I wonder where all this is going to end. If there was suitable compensation for people affected that would be a little better, but I think Hemsby should be right on top

of their priority list.”

One of the recent victims of flooding, in December, was Kenneth Cheney, of Waters Lane, when sewage started spilling out from two manhole covers.

Having invested in his own £400 pump to protect his home after being flooded six times in as many years, he was unsurprised to hear the project cutback news.

He said: “This is about par for the course. It's how they operate and you're up against a brick wall. Why should I have to spend money on this pump when there are those who are supposed to deal with such problems?”

“The pipes here are not up to the job as they're just not big enough for when it rains heavily so we're on tenterhooks whenever there is a heavy downpour. They know what the problem is but they've got to spend a lot of money on it.”

Anglian Water spokesman Andrew Mackintosh said: “There was a massive gap between what we asked for, and that makes it really tough for us and what we have to do. Our original proposal to the regulator involved every scheme that needed work - and that included Hemsby - but now schemes like the one needed in Hemsby aren't looking likely.

“The difficulty we have with the potential project is that a scheme costing £3m would protect a few properties, while that same money could go further elsewhere.”

He went on to recommend that residents affected by the flood should contact Anglian Water.


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