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More must be done to halt floods says Great Wilbraham resident

By Ben Comber

Dr Peter Ladbrooke complaining of flooding issues in Great Wilbraham see here with his rain guage . Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Peter Ladbrooke complaining of flooding issues in Great Wilbraham see here with his rain guage . Picture: Keith Heppell

Homes in Great Wilbraham have suffered decades of flooding, and residents are demanding that the council finally moves to solve the problem.

Flooding in Great Wilbraham in June 2016
Flooding in Great Wilbraham in June 2016

Dr Peter Ladbrooke, who was a physicist at King’s College in Cambridge before retiring, said Church Street, where he lives, has flooded 27 times in the past 23 years, most notably in the summer.

“We moved into this village in 1993,” he told the Cambridge Independent, “and the first flooding event was later the same year. It was fairly dramatic, so I have had cause to keep track of it.”

Dr Ladbrooke, through rainfall measurements and topographical surveys, has deduced that the cause of the problem is that the storm drains from the road are too small. In substantial rainfall of 0.9 inches per hour, he said, the road outside his home will flood in just in five minutes, and an hour of rainfall can take four hours to drain.

On a parallel residential road, Angle End, homes sometimes take in water when it floods badly. Dr Ladbrooke said he has had to build a flood barrier at his own property.

He added the county council’s cash-strapped highways division has been helpful in clearing the drains so they can work as effectively as possible, but more must be done.

“My own view is that the council is being irresponsible in allocating such a small amount of money to highways,” he said.

“There’s always money available, it’s a matter of priorities. Cars are moving onto the wrong side of the road to avoid the water. It’s only a matter of time until there’s an accident.”

A county council spokesperson said: “We’re aware of flooding in Wilbraham and have identified the problem on Church Street and Angle End. To address the issue, we have programmed a drainage scheme as part of the current transport delivery plan.

“The scheme will divide the current single drainage system into two separate ones to increase capacity and prevent flooding, and will be delivered within the current financial year. Once started the scheme will be four to six weeks in duration.”

Dr Ladbrooke said that while the scheme is a step in the right direction, it may not be enough to solve the flooding issue.


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