Call for better drainage to prevent the flooding

Flooding in Eleanor Street
Flooding in Eleanor Street

WARD councillors have vowed to help a small community after floods have frequently hit a Wigan street.

Residents living in Eleanor Street and Melverley Street are demanding action be taken to prevent scenes which occurred on Boxing Day after heavy rain.

The two streets were one of many to be under water 11 days ago when the River Douglas burst its banks and drains were unable to cope with the amount of water.

But residents say Eleanor Street and Melverley Street are regularly clogged up with water, blaming blocked drains which occurred following the building of the Saddle Junction.

As they complained about back alleyways holding water, gulleys had been cleaned out and United Utilities added an extra manhole, but this is not enough to hold back the water.

After surveying the latest damage, councillors Mike and Shirley Dewhurst, are demanding more to be done.

Coun Mike Dewhurst said: “We had contacted the council a number of times about the rear alley ways still holding water. We presumed part of the problem was that the grids in the alleys have not been cleaned and therefore the water had no were to go.

“We were informed in December that the gulleys had been cleaned out and an extra manhole had been provided by United Utilities and an extra grid was put in place by the council. However in between Christmas and New Year there was still a considerable amount of surface water and foul smelling sediment.

“We also noticed that the manholes in Melverley Street to the rear of Eleanor street were blocked. In fact I had to dig through the sediment to actually find one of the grids.

“The people who live in Eleanor street have been flooded numerous times since the new road to the Saddle Junction has been built. So we will be doing everything we possible can to avoid them being flooded out yet again.”

Resident Mark McLoughlin, 41, said: “We face problems of flooding every time there is a lot of rain.

“When the new Saddle Junction was built, we were told the bridge on Wallgate, Seven Stars, will not flood again and Boxing Day it flooded. I thought the new dam in Swinley was the answer to River Douglas flooding - but clearly not.”

Paul Barton, interim assistant director for operational services at Wigan Council said: “Unfortunately even if all the drains in the borough, which are inspected and cleaned on a regular basis, had been cleaned the day before Boxing Day, areas would have still flooded because the level of rainfall was too high. The new flood defence system installed at the Saddle Junction managed to keep the River Douglas from bursting its banks. Had this not been the case it could have been much worse.

“We will be looking at the areas which were most affected by the floods to see if anything can be done so they are more protected in the future and working with United Utilities and the Environment Agency.”

A spokesman from United Utilities said: “Under normal weather conditions, our local sewer network works effectively. We understand there have been issues with the Council’s highways drainage in recent years due to newly built areas of road which struggle to drain effectively. We’ve offered to meet with the Council to discuss this matter.”