New ditch to relieve flood issues 'more challenging than expected'

Burrowmoor Road March flooding

Rob Stevens' garage, office and garden flooded in 2014, before his garage was flooded again at Christmas 2020. - Credit: Rob Stevens

Cambridgeshire County Council said plans to dig a new ditch in March to help alleviate flooding issues in the town have been “more challenging” than first thought. 

The update comes after this newspaper contacted the county council for an update on the situation around Butt Avenue, Birchwood Avenue and Burrowmoor Road. 

A county council spokesperson said: “Planning for this project is underway and land negotiations continue however, they have been more challenging than originally expected.” 

Pressure by residents on the county council to improve the situation mounted after the 2014 and Christmas 2020 floods. 

After the 2014 floods, £34,000 was provided to start work on installing a new ditch as the council found the drainage section of Birchwood Avenue and Butt Avenue had come to a dead end. 

But when proposals for 24 homes for the former Kingswood Park Residential Home were submitted in November 2017, officers began talks with developers to collaborate on the issue. 

The spokesperson said: “After starting to make progress, the development was then put on hold.  

“At that time, it was not obvious that the development would not restart, therefore no decision was made to immediately look for another solution.” 

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The spokesperson added that negotiations with the land owners to buy the land and connect existing pipes have been agreed, but “we cannot put a timescale on this work due to the negotiations needed”. 

Rob Stevens of Burrowmoor Road saw his garage and office flood in 2014, before his garage flooded again at Christmas. 

Burrowmoor Road March garden Christmas floods 2020

Rob Stevens' garden flooded in Butt Avenue in the Christmas 2020 floods. - Credit: Rob Stevens

He said the Kingswood Park plans did not show land allocated for a ditch to deal with surface water, but is hopeful progress to sort flooding issues is on its way. 

Rob said: “When will it happen? Who knows, there is a negotiation to take place with land owners so it could be quite some time, which is to be expected.   

“So far, they have provided regular updates since the December flooding which is a vast improvement.  

“I believe Jan French and associates are moving as best as possible, as long as the updates are regular and honest with some progress.” 

A Fenland District Council spokesperson said the development, which was approved in March 2020, plans to have a drainage scheme to handle surface water. 

They said: “As part of the permission granted, a condition was imposed requiring a surface water drainage scheme to be submitted.  

“Details have now been supplied and these are currently being considered in conjunction with Cambridgeshire County Council.”