“Children have to walk through sewage” - Villagers call for action on flooding in Strumpshaw

Flooding at the Huntsman Pub in Strumpshaw.

Flooding at the Huntsman Pub in Strumpshaw. - Credit: Archant

Recurring flooding due to an overflowing ditch has closed a village pub and left people wading home.

But Norfolk County Council says it can not justify spending public money on carrying out the work to try to solve the problem.

People living in Strumpshaw have been complaining about the flooding for more than four years, asking the council to deepen the ditch. The landowners have offered the area to Norfolk County Council free of charge.

However, the county council said: 'It's a very kind offer from local landowners to further extend the ditches; however there is at present no evidence that this would prevent further flooding and this being the case, we can't justify spending public money on carrying out the work.

'The highways ditch system in the area is being maintained and the ditches have previously been widened and deepened to provide extra capacity.'

The Huntsman pub, on Norwich Road, fell victim to flooding on July 12. Sewage entered the kitchen, three inches of water covered the carpet in the main room, and water from the car park got under the raised floor in the restaurant. Owners Christine and Spencer Hall say they are shut 'for the foreseeable future'.

The couple have had many meetings with the council. Mrs Hall said: 'The water that is on the highway is their responsibility. They should have to keep it clear and it shouldn't be a cost to us.

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'Children have to walk through sewage when it floods and it affects services in the village – the road is completely closed off.

'The land has been given to them, they should get on with the work. They have told us if we touch the ditch to try and do it ourselves, we will be liable. As for their maintenance programme, over two years ago they did very minimal work on the ditch – that's all.'

Other people working in Strumpshaw say their businesses have also been affected.

Carol Raburall, who works in the post office, said: 'When it was flooded I had no customers at all. It is completely blocked off and I have to wade home. The council should pay for the work, it's never been this bad, something must have gone wrong with the drains.'

The council spokesman added: 'We have completed a flood investigation report which identified that multiple factors were contributing to the flooding. Given this, our role has been to try to co-ordinate further investigative work which would need to be supported by all parties. We understand the owners have now employed drainage consultants and we will be meeting them shortly to discuss any proposals they may have.'