• Feniton residents urged to move forward together

    4th December 2012 | News | Claire
  • At last night’s Feniton Parish Council meeting, which followed a hugely busy flood drop-in event during the afternoon, chairman, Martyn Smith outlined his proposals for a way forward he felt might help residents battle floods the next time around, if there was one.

    As he spoke, representatives from South West Water, Devon County Council and East Devon District Council, agreed that they would do their best to help spare Feniton from future floods.

    Earlier in day, Feniton’s MP, Neil Parish had walked around the village with councillors, seeing the problems for himself.

    Parish council chairman, Martyn Smith, explained that a flood defence scheme was being planned for, but it may be some way off and its cost was around £1.6m.  In the meantime he said, it was important to get a self-help scheme up and running in the village.  A scheme that would help residents reduce the likelihood of being flooded or if flooding was imminent, ensure that there were plenty of volunteers to help with sandbags and other practical measures.

    Peter Hocking from South West Water, said that the company had only recently taken ownership of the drains in Feniton.  It is the inadequate drainage system that was installed in the 1960s when Feniton expanded, that is Feniton’s main problem.  Much of the pipework has not lasted the time and some pipes have collapsed, leading to pressure on other pipes and water gushing onto roads and gardens.

    Mr Hocking announced that he would this week, oversee a video inspection of the drainage system to find out where the problems are and which way the water flows out.  If necessary, the drains would be jetted regularly by Devon County Council, he said.

    He added that the sewers were unable to cope and sewage into people’s houses was unacceptable and was ‘a quite awful situation.’ The main problem, Mr Hocking said, was surface water run-off from fields and roads.

    Devon County Council flood manager, Martin Hutchings, confirmed that he would aim to fund improvements to the drain system during this financial year.

    Feniton Parish councillor, Bob Crowswords, also an employee of the Environment Agency, told the meeting that it was difficult to fund maintenance while revenue budgets had been cut so heavily, which would continue into the next financial year.  The Environment Agency would do what it could, however.

    MP, Neil Parish was said last night to be ‘fired up’ about Feniton’s serial flooding problems, and promised to talk to the housing minister about it (Mr Boles).

    Around 100 residents are needed to keep an eye on the drains in their roads and look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours, Mr Smith said.

    Chair of Feniton’s Action Group, John Withrington, emphasised that there should be no development in the village until the flooding problems were resolved and this was agreed.

    Feniton residents who wish to sign up to the new flood warden scheme, should contact Feniton Parish Council – here http://www.fenitonparishcouncil.gov.uk/contact-feniton-parish-council.php