Flood defences are necessary for Weighton

Dear Sir,

It was with great interest that I read the view of the Mayor of Market Weighton, Councillor Peter Hemmerman, in the 8 March issue of the Pocklington Post, with regard to the flood defences in the town. At last we have a Mayor who talks sense.

Market Weighton is in great danger of flooding, if we ever get the great water fall that is promised us by the Environment Agency. And I don’t mean just streets under water, but houses as well. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the residents of the town agree that we should have flood defences, but unfortunately we have to bow to the views of the East Riding Council, who are not in complete agreement with the view of the majority. I, myself, have been told that I should be sent to prison for believing that flood defences are necessary.

Yet, like Councillor Hemmerman, I believe (along with an estimated 95 per cent of the residents) that the main reason that we have flooding in the town is from over-building, without upgrading the drains and sewers to be able to cope with the extra water. During the flood of 2006, some of us watched raw sewage, condoms, sanitary towels and disposable nappies floating down Hawling Road. One resident made a call for help to the East Riding for sandbags to prevent the sewage etc getting into her house and garage, but they were delivered two weeks later. Despite promises, and a bit of ridicule from the then current Mayor, nothing was done. We had a great crop of tomato plants on the cracks of the pavement the following year.

Then, in 2007, we had the double flooding when twice we suffered the same thing. Again promises, but nothing done. Hawling Road is one of the lowest parts of Market Weighton and there is a natural tendency for all surface and other waters to flow there. But the main reason for the flooding is that there have been large developments either side of the road, without the drains and sewers being upgraded to take the extra water. Every house that is built means less land for the rain water to soak away.

But it isn’t only flooding that creates problems. Just look at Beverley Road, where there has been a lot of house building. After a good, heavy shower, the rain water goes into the culverts and down the hill to the entrance to McCarthy and Stone retirement homes, where there is a bend in the road. The volume of water in the culvert then comes up out of the drain that is situated at the entrance to McCarthy and Stone, across the road, and floods Southgate, then Hawling Road. This doesn’t happen on the day of the rains, but continues for about a week afterwards. Also, with every heavy shower, we get the sewage coming up in Hawling Road.

Yet, Yorkshire Water seems to be complacent about the problems and sits back, virtually stating that everything is perfect. And we don’t get any help from the East Riding Council, as their attitude seems to be that they can keep on giving planning permission for endless new houses as they provide extra council tax. Also, you will never see an East Riding Councillor walking around Market Weighton when it is raining.

Now, I am reading that this country is giving millions of pounds to Turkey for them to update their sewage facilities to EU standards. Turkey, a country that is mainly in Asia. How can the EU dictate to us that we must give money to an Asian country to update their drains when a little town, that is part of the backbone of England and its way of life, cannot get a few thousand pounds to update their sewage problems?

Yes, I am pleased that we are getting funding for the flood defences but, like Councillor Hemmerman, I believe that we should have a pause in house building until the real problem is solved.

Mr E. Johnson

Hawling Road, Market Weighton