Action plan needed as Leighton Buzzard suffers 'increased instances' of flooding

The Globe pub Leighton Buzzard was forced to close after heavy rain caused flooding in JanuaryThe Globe pub Leighton Buzzard was forced to close after heavy rain caused flooding in January
The Globe pub Leighton Buzzard was forced to close after heavy rain caused flooding in January
"This is an authority-wide issue” says councillor as summit meeting set to take place

Mitigation measures to resolve flooding issues in Central Bedfordshire need to be county-wide and not just focused on Leighton Buzzard, a meeting heard.

The town’s Liberal Democrats will suggest a multi-agency action plan is required for flood prevention at a town partnership committee meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, March 7).

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But the issue was raised by local resident Lily Crank during a Central Bedfordshire Council sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee meeting last night (March 5).

Lovent Drive in the town has been flooded four times recently from the drainage system, she warned. “There’s a concern among residents the town’s eastern expansion could be partly to blame for the overflow of the brook, as land which used to absorb water has become housing.

“Can we ensure the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and the local authority have a plan to work together to mitigate future flooding issues?” she asked.

Liberal Democrat Leighton Linslade South councillor Chris Leaman described “increased instances of flooding in Leighton Buzzard”, saying: “Several roads and businesses have been affected since November.

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Pubs such as The Globe Inn and Grove Lock have been forced to close several times. It’s not something CBC can do alone.

“Only a few homes have been flooded fortuitously. Nature-based solutions are essential to address these issues, although they take a while to establish.

“We sadly tend to react when homes and businesses are flooded. It’s incumbent on CBC and agencies to act now to have a multi-agency action plan to address flooding in Leighton Buzzard and the surrounding areas.”

Independent Leighton Linslade West councillor Steve Owen suggested being “happy to support what councillor Leaman is trying to achieve here”, adding: “The Globe Inn has been situated in the middle of the Rover Ouzel flood meadows for 170 years, deliberately to serve the canal.

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People who built The Globe Inn and Grove Lock knew that. They’ve existed pretty well through many floods. There’s a difference between the inhabited roads mentioned by the resident and these two pubs.”

Independent Leighton Linslade West councillor Victoria Harvey said: “The Environment Agency is starting work already on a plan to alleviate pressures from Clipstone Brook.

“Our tiny flood team of only three people is dealing with its response and is under huge pressure. We need to put all our energy into making sure plans come forward and supporting the relevant authorities.”

Leighton Linslade South councillor Shaun Roberts visited Lovent Drive last time, acknowledging: “Development upstream has increased the flood risk.

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“But residents say the biggest contributing factor is the lack of maintenance of various measures supposed to be there to prevent flooding.

“Things to be checked every year have become every five years. Clearly this approach has to change because of ‘the new normal’.”

Independent Sandy councillor and executive member for highways Simon Ford explained: “This is an authority-wide issue. The flood risk management team is still in its response stage. We’re setting up a summit meeting with the water authorities, the internal drainage board, the Environment Agency, and emergency services.”

Councillors agreed a report should be prepared after the summit.