Council blamed for not unblocking drains as Dunstable businesses flooded
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Multiple business in Dunstable were left flooded yesterday (June 20) after heavy downpours in the area.
The companies were affected after drains on High Street North became overwhelmed, with excess drainage water and leaves spilling into premises nearby. A lack of drain maintenance by Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has been blamed for the issues.
A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We understand how distressing it has been for those businesses that were flooded following the heavy rain on Tuesday and the impact this is having on them.
“Central Bedfordshire Council has taken proactive steps where possible to try and reduce the impact of flooding. We’ve added capacity to the drainage system with huge underground flood capture tanks, installed oversized drainage pipes, kerbs have been lifted higher and gullies cleaned to try and reduce the impact of flooding.
David Russell, director at Urban and Rural Dunstable, said: "We've all been mopping water out the doors, as opposed to doing business and trying to stay afloat in these times.”
But this isn’t the first time this has happened – seven years ago the building’s basement flooded.
David explained: “I really just want them to unblock drains on a regular basis. That is all that needs to happen, there is a coffee shop a few doors down – their cellar has been flooded.”
Mehmet Citkin is the son of the owner of the independent coffee shop, Cafe Latte. He and his family were forced to get rid of the water in their basement by themselves.
He explained: “We've done it by hand and using buckets. There was quite a lot of water. They [CBC] get predictions of the weather so they could just send the guy around to unblock the drains.
“I know that they tried it a few weeks ago, but one side of the road isn't really enough, especially because there's going to be hotspots.”
The council’s statement continued: “The rain on Tuesday morning, however, was extreme, 11mm of rain fell in just fifteen minutes. The likelihood is that this level of rain would have caused flooding anywhere."
Trading hours, stock, furniture and flooring have been lost or ruined because of the flooding. Owner of Vaping Not Smoking Sarah O’Dell is also unhappy, but said she was thankful to have been in the shop and ‘dreaded to think what would have happened’ had she not been.
Sarah said: “It just happened so fast. It started coming through the door. I've had to put a load of the mats to try and pack out the door and around the edges to hopefully reduce some of the liquid coming in.”
She also wants CBC to resolve the drainage issues. Sarah added: “They need to look at the drainage because even with light rain, we've always had puddles there.
“It’s a flood area they've done absolutely nothing to to resolve that the drain is directly outside the shop on the road and I've never seen it work properly.”
Luton Today also received reports from residents about flooding near Skimpot Lane bridge earlier this month.