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Flood victims’ anger at council bigwigs
6:00am Thursday 2nd January 2014 in Local News
ANGRY residents still dealing with the aftermath of floods in the summer want to know why Rochford District Council failed to spend £10,000 clearing blocked ditches and drains which led to the flooding.
A report reveals how Rochford District Council budgeted £10,000 to clear the ditches and drains in this financial year, but didn’t spend a penny of it and has now removed the fund altogether.
Many residents in Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford suffered flood damage, with some made homeless, after heavy rain hit in August.
Hawkwell independent councillors John and Christine Mason joined residents at the beginning of December to help clear debris from a brook that runs through fields in the town and have questioned why the money wasn’t used, even to buy residents sandbags.
Mr Mason said: “We’re confused.
You would think if money is available it could have been used before and during the event. The budget was clearly there.
“A council officer could have picked up the phone and got a supply of sandbags out to people.”
Graham Phillips and his family have been living in rented accommodation since their house in Fairmead, Rayleigh, was flooded.
Mr Phillips said: “We and other neighbours who were affected have had a separate report done, and it’s said that the extreme flooding was down to the blocked drains and sewers.”
At the time of the flooding, council leader Terry Cutmore stunned residents during a TV interview when he said it wasn’t down to the council to provide flood protection.
He said it was up to the householder to supply sandbags to provide their own protection adding even if the council had the budget to issue them, they wouldn’t have been able to get them out quickly enough due to how quickly the rain fell.
Mr Cutmore said: “The budget for sewers and ditch clearance was specifically set aside for those on Rochford District Council land that we have responsibility for.”
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