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Axminster resident is forced to build own flood defence
Monday, 15 October 2012
AS a local authority struggles to identify the owner of a flood-prone culvert, an Axminster man has decided to build his own flood defence.
Malcolm Reynolds labelled the inability to establish ownership as “disgusting” and hopes his wall will provide some protection.
Mr Reynolds lives next to the Millbrook stream in Willhay Lane, which has been badly hit by flooding.
A culvert under Willhay Lane is being blamed, but establishing who owns it has proved extremely difficult.
Network Rail accepts ownership of the culvert under the nearby railway, but the section under Willhay Lane remains a mystery.
After the most recent case of flooding - on September 23rd and 24th - Mr Reynolds said: “I have been again and again asking the authorities to do something about the inadequate culvert underneath the bridge that spans the lane but I am falling on deaf ears.”
He has since decided to take alternative action, and told Pulman’s View: “I decided to build a complete wall at my own expense.
“It is not covered by insurance and is costing quite a lot of money. But the wall can only be in my garden. It is not going to stop the water breaking banks elsewhere. I’m taking action as best I can but my property is still at risk from water having to pass by and breaching further up and down the stream.”
The quest to identify the owner of the culvert surfaced at Axminster Town Council’s meeting on Monday, October 8th.
Mayor Andrew Moulding, who is also a county and district councillor, said that that Devon County Council (DCC) is on the case.
But town Jeremy Walden was afraid that could be the case for a long time, and asked: “When does DCC stop looking?”
Councillor Moulding replied: “Don’t worry. We don’t want to let this disappear into an abyss.”
He also said that MP Neil Parish would be asked to get involved if there was no progress.
County councillor Stuart Hughes, who is the chairman of the Devon Flood Risk Management Partnership, said: “While we are trying to establish the ownership of the culvert, investigations into any improvements that can be made to the culvert are on-going.
“Any potential scheme will take some time as national funding is likely be needed, but we are continuing to work towards finding a solution.”
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