Milton Keynes residents fuming after MK Council refuses to spend £140k to protect their homes from flooding
Request to spend £140k on four households to prevent flooding is 'shocking', Milton Keynes Council hears
A few residents in London Road suffer from regular flooding and have been provided with piles of sandbags by MK Council.
Despite this, in January the flooding was so severe that three trucks were sent to pump the water out of three houses and one cellar. You can see the extent of the flooding in our video.
The problem is that the very "old and inadequate" drains in the area cannot cope with a deluge of water from heavy rainfall, say the residents.
"We have been told by council staff that the only way to stop the flooding is to improve the drains in London Road", said one householder. " But the council, despite their own staff telling them, do not seem to be willing to take any action to prevent this blight on our lives. The worst affected resident and his wife, who are in their 80s, live in fear every time they hear rain."
Their Conservative ward councillor Amanda Marlow asked councillors at the recent annual budget meeting to set aside £140,000 to improve the drains and prevent further flooding in the area.
Labour and Lib Dem councillors voted the proposal down.
Labour's council leader Pete Marland said: "Pete Marland: "The London road amendment is shocking to a level of disregard. Three properties and one cellar flooded and the risk of flooding by Environment agency is registered as low."
One affected resident said: "You can imagine how upset I was to see the council leader dismiss this out of hand and say there was no risk of flooding. By his own admission there has been flooding, and this is now a regular event, every time there is heavy rain."
Ethan Wilkinson, who is the Conservative candidate for Loughton and Shenley in the May elections, said: "It's depressing but true. Labour voted down a flood amendment that would have helped four houses. People who have lived in those houses for years and years. People who worry every time it rains that their properties will be impacted by rainwater as it has nowhere to go, because the ageing drainage system isn’t up to the job."
"These drains are old. They are not fit for purpose and need to be fixed."
Ethan added: "Even in only four homes are affected, people shouldn't have to worry."
Meanwhile, at the same budget council meeting, Liberal Democrats councillors secured £15,000 to train and equip flood wardens.
Flood wardens across Milton Keynes will be able to build up a network for communications and direct action when a flood occurs, they say.
The training will include advice on local resilience, crisis management, communication, water safety and roles and responsibilities before, during and after a flood situation. There will also be provision for safety equipment, such as high visibility waistcoats and portable lighting.
Councillor Vanessa McPake, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “There is no one solution to flooding, but this is a step in the right direction. We need as many people as possible to be prepared for a flood, and this money can help make that a reality.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Jane Carr represents Newport Pagnell South, parts of which were badly flooded over Christmas and in January. She said: “I’ve been fighting for local flood wardens and community action groups because it’s their homes and towns that get flooded; they’re the ones first on the scene.”
“Although dealing with flooding is the job of the council and other authorities, we want residents to be as prepared as possible. If we can help volunteers train as flood wardens, it will help them help their community.”