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'We haven't done as much as we could've done' - agencies admit mistakes over Pakefield flooding

Homes on Aldwyck Way, Lowestoft which have been seriously flooded.

Picture: James Bass

Homes on Aldwyck Way, Lowestoft which have been seriously flooded. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2015

"We haven't done as much as we could've done" - that was the frank admission from agencies responsible for flood prevention after homes were devastated by floods despite years of warnings from residents.

Tenants and homeowners were invited to a meeting at Waveney District Council’s Riverside offices last Friday (June 30) to hear members of the Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership present a report into why 33 homes in Aldwyck Way and Velda Close, Pakefield, were swamped with waist-high water on July 24 and 25 this year.

They were told that the main cause of the devastation – which has left many residents homeless and still in temporary accommodation while repairs are carried out – was unusually heavy rainfall, which led to blockages in the nearby Kirkley Stream.

Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and Suffolk County Council all said they were working as quickly as they could to find a resolution to the issue and had already put improvements in place, such as more regular monitoring of the stream for blockages and £25,000 of investment by Anglian Water.

But Velda Close resident Paul Thompson said: “You hadn’t been proactive before the flood happened.

“We are getting more and more reports – we need a proper maintenance programme. Let’s have some assurance you’re going to be proactively clearing that stream.”

Matt Hullis, head of environment strategy at Suffolk County Council, said on behalf of all of the agencies: “We haven’t done as much as we could’ve done.”

Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, added: “An element of the report is accepting what happened in the past. What’s happened is in the past and we need to move forward in a constructive way.”

Waveney District Council leader Colin Law said: “The fact has been recognised that they got it wrong.

“What they’re trying to do now is put it right.”

■ Were you affected by the Pakefield flooding? Contact reporter Andrew Papworth on 01502 525825 or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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