Drains in Northampton street hit by floods were not cleaned for over TWO YEARS

Contractors were on St Leonard's Road the day after the flood and cleaned every drain - something not done for over two years.
Contractors were on St Leonard's Road the day after the flood and cleaned every drain - something not done for over two years.

The drains in a Northampton street where dozens of homes were damaged in a flashflood this year were not cleaned for over two years, the Chronicle & Echo can reveal.

Filthy floodwater poured into the homes, businesses and takeaways of St Leonards Road in May when a sudden thunderstorm unleashed a deluge of rain.

The Chronicle & Echo reported as contractors worked on their hands and knees using crowbars to remove the built-up silt.

The Chronicle & Echo reported as contractors worked on their hands and knees using crowbars to remove the built-up silt.

Clogged drains were pointed to by affected residents as the main cause for the washout.

But an FOI has revealed that county council contractors had not cleaned many of the gullies on the street since at least 2016.

The county council carries out a programme of gully clearance once a year.

But figures for 2016 show that 23 out of 35 drains were not cleaned that year, nearly all of which was because of cars parked in the way.

Then in 2017, a spreadsheet lists that not one single drain was cleaned out that year. Further, contractors listed that they "did not need to be cleaned".

Records show how contractors were out the day after the floods in May and cleaned every single drain. At the time, the Chronicle reported seeing workers on their hands and knees with crowbars trying to loosen the packed-in dirt.

One affected resident, Richard Short, said: “I just want someone at the council to take responsibility and be held accountable.

“They can get residents to move cars for streetlight and road repair. Why couldn’t they do the same for cleaning drains?

“The public has been fobbed off. I will be expecting compensation.”

Results from a dozen separate flood investigations are expected in January 2018.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “This was a very unusual weather event where a significant amount of intense rainfall fell in concentrated areas of Northampton leading to surface water flooding.

“The county council as lead local flood authority for the county is coordinating an independent investigation to better understand what factors contributed to the flooding.”

“We endeavour to inspect the gullies on a routine basis or when they are reported to Street Doctor. If cars are parked above gullies preventing access, a subsequent visit is arranged.”