Lancashire County Council has 'entirely failed' to address flooding in Lancaster village, local leaders say

Lancaster City and Halton Parish Councillors have criticised the county council - which is the local lead flood authority - for inaction in the wake of more flooding in the village.

By Nick Lakin
Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 2:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 3:08 pm

On Sunday night, November 1, residents in Halton banded together and used brushes and shovels to try and hold back flood water from entering properties in High Road.

Many others were out in dark, cold, wet and very windy conditions pulling leaves and mud from blocked drains and helping neighbours, while vehicles became stuck in Pennystone Road.

Water gushed from overloaded drains in Arrow Lane, creating a river along Halton's High Road, threatening properties in what is now a very familiar scenario for residents in the village.

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A Lancashire County Council vehicle arrives on scene to help pump water.

Later, as the tidal river Lune reached its peak, some properties and gardens flooded yet again in Church Brow.

Lancaster City Council deputy leader Kevin Frea, who represents Halton, said that in the five years since Storm Desmond and despite repeated requests, nothing has been done for Halton residents to help reduce flood risk.

Halton-with-Aughton Parish Council said that the county council has failed to understand the nature of the inadequate road drainage system, and it has heard nothing about the outcome of a flooding report promised in 2016.

Coun Frea said: "After the November 2018 Halton floods, Lancashire County Council, as the Flood Authority, commissioned Jacobs to do a study of the village to see what action could be taken to mitigate the flooding from heavy rainfall.

Residents attempting to stop floodwater entering properties in High Road.

"Erica Lewis (Lancaster City Council leader) and I have been asking them regularly for details of when it will be published and acted on without any response.

It's almost five years since Storm Desmond, and while there has been a multi million pound flood barrier funded by various agencies to protect businesses on Caton Road, nothing has been done for Halton residents.

I'm proud of what Lancaster City Council are doing within their very limited responsibilities, but we need all of the agencies to wake up and start to work together to come up with some solutions.

"We also need Halton residents to start to get organised and demand action, because we're being completely ignored so far."

Surface water flooding in Lancaster city centre on Sunday night.

Halton Parish Councillor Brian Jefferson said: "Housing numbers have been increasing in every decade in Halton with consequent increased run-off into road drainage designed and installed in the 1930s.

"These old 14 inch drains are completely inadequate for both today's increasingly heavy downpours and the ever increasing housing stock.

"In addition, the County Council policy of only cleaning out drains on request fails to understand the nature of silting that occurs annually in these narrow pipes and it is this further capacity reduction that compounds the problem of an already inadequate road drainage system.

"Our Local Lead Flood Authority has entirely failed to address these issues during the promised review of the situation after Storm Desmond. Despite some early 'listening' sessions, the Parish council has, and despite repeated requests, heard nothing about the outcome report promised in 2016."

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "Our highways team attended the flooding in Halton to ensure that highways drains were working properly, and are currently checking a number of other locations which were affected to clear flood debris from drains where necessary.

"Our flood risk management team is investigating the causes of flooding in Halton in order to be able to consider the options which may be available to mitigate future flooding, and a survey of local drainage systems has recently been carried out as part of this ongoing work."

Meanwhile Lancaster City Council said it was working in partnership with Lancashire County Council, and a fleet of sweepers were out both day and night from Thursday until Sunday removing debris which had the potential to cause flooding and to clear gullies.

"A spokeswoman said: "On Sunday our crew tended to flooding hotspots on Morecambe Road, Torrisholme Road and Damside Street as well as flood risk areas in Halton, Warton, Galgate and Hala."