Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown chairs a meeting along with representatives from Thames Water and the Environment Agencyto look at flooding in Cirencester
CIRENCESTER residents, concerned and frustrated at the prospect of future flooding in the town, piled into a meeting to put representatives from Thames Water and the Environment Agency under the spotlight.
The meeting, which was chaired by Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown at the Cotswold District Council chamber earlier today, probed into the problems of last year’s massive floods and the steps being taken to cancel a repeat performance.
“We’re in a much better situation going in to the winter period than this time last year. The water levels around Cirencester are a lot lower,” said Chris Savage from the Environment Agency.
Mr Savage also told residents that investigations showed that the sewer under Spittlegate Lane had become blocked with silt and that work to clear it would start on Monday, December 2.
However, the positive start soon wore off when Cllr Joe Harris, mayor of Cirencester, raised the issue of Thames Water’s communication with local residents.
Anthony Crawford, head of network at Thames Water, said: “We recognise communication is an issue. We’re looking at things that will mean we can communicate a lot quicker.”
Residents also attacked officials for not addressing flooding in the Cotswolds before carrying on with the district’s Local Plan development that could see 2,500 homes built in the south of Cirencester.
Tony Curry, a Park ward resident, said: “There is a lack of joined up thinking. The authorities, whoever they are, are just not thinking together.
“You can’t get the sewers right now, so how are you going to handle it after 3,000 more homes are built?”
“Before you go on any further with fancy schemes, tell residents what you’re going to do about floods and you might get some people on side.”
Philippa Lowe, head of planning at Cotswold District Council, responded to Mr Curry’s claims that development would not have an adverse effect on flooding.
The meeting concluded with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown telling the chamber: “To all the agencies here today, you must see this as the beginning and not the end. You must find the solutions to these people’s problems.”