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Rushmere St Andrew: Conflicting messages continue in decade-long drainage dispute

PUBLISHED: 13:24 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:24 13 August 2014

Dan Poulter MP talking to residents from Rushmere St Andrew after they complained about flooding in the area.

Dan Poulter MP talking to residents from Rushmere St Andrew after they complained about flooding in the area.

Conflicting messages have been issued by the two organisations involved in a decade-long drainage dispute, which has left residents in east Suffolk living in fear of the rain.

People living in The Street, Rushmere St Andrew, have called for Anglian Water and Suffolk County Council to resolve the problem they claim has damaged property and flooded their gardens with sewage.

MP for North Ipswich and Central Suiffolk Dan Poulter has backed the residents’ demands, urging both authorities to carry out a study of the drainage network and develop a long-term solution to the problem.

He said the situation was “unacceptable, intolerable” and called for a joint public meeting to be held next month so that residents could hear the solutions being agreed.

Part of the problem, residents said, was that neither side would admit full responsibility – something which remains evident in the authorities’ latest comments made after the MP’s intervention. Anglian Water said the problem was caused by the surface water – which is the council’s responsibility – whereas its sewers “are running normally with no obstructions”.

In conflict with this statement, Suffolk County Council’s chairman, Christopher Hudson, who is also the ward member for Rushmere, said the responsibility rested with Anglian Water.

He insists water authorities are legally obliged to resolve drainage issues and said he would be pressing for action to be taken. “Anglian Water are trying to pin this on highways and I’m not having it,” he said. “They have a statutory obligation to carry this out – it’s a question of the law.”

A spokesman for the council said previously that the authority had been working with partners to resolve the issue for some time and was “committed to continue to do so”.

“We welcome any initiatives to help with this process and would participate in any joint meeting,” the spokesman added.

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