Bureaucratic buckpassing blocks clearance of A47 underpass between Toftwood and Dereham

Bureaucratic buckpassing that left frustrated residents unable to use a flooded underpass to cross the A47 have finally come to an end after a call from this newspaper.

The passage connecting Middlemarch Road in Toftwood and the Moorgate Estate in Dereham was flooded by six inches of water, forcing pedestrians to make a 15 minute diversion to get to the other side.

However, the cleanup was left in limbo because none of the public authorities involved would take responsibility for dealing with it.

Breckland Council told Toftwood resident Diane Thorne that Norfolk County Council was responsible, but they told her it was the Highways Agency's problem.

However, when she contacted the Highways Agency they told her Breckland Council should sort the mess out, leaving her back at square one.

Mrs Thorn said: 'It seems it's nobody's problem. Nobody takes responsibility. Hundreds of people use it normally and this is not the first time this has happened. It's been an ongoing problem since it was built but it's not regularly cleaned or maintained.

'I have never complained in the 39 years I have lived here but this is disgusting as wheelchair users, mothers with pushchairs, cyclists and walkers have a right to use the pathway, otherwise it would not have been made a tarmac path.'

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However, within hours of being contacted by the newspaper Norfolk County Council said it would sort out the problem and workmen drained the water so people could use it again.

A spokesman said: 'We are sorry Mrs Thorne has been passed around in this way. There was genuine doubt about who should be sorting out the drainage and flooding problem because although the structure belongs to the Highways Agency, the county council is responsible for ensuring that people can use the public right of way through the underpass.

'In the interests of local people the county council is arranging for the water to be pumped out and to take on future maintenance of the drains.'

Mrs Thorne said: 'I'm glad it's finally been done but to be truthful it's taken a lot of passing the buck to get it sorted. I just think someone should take responsibility for it and maintaining it. What do we pay our rates for?'

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