‘Nightmare’ flood could soon be over for Manthorpe neighbours

Flooding in Manthorpe Gardens. Humphrey and Dianna Platts. 877C
Flooding in Manthorpe Gardens. Humphrey and Dianna Platts. 877C

In April, neighbours in Low Road, Manthorpe, suddenly found their gardens were under several inches of water.

Now nine months later, agencies say the cause has been found and have pledged to take action.

Flooding in Gardens in Manthorpe. 877C

Flooding in Gardens in Manthorpe. 877C

Investigations have been carried out by the likes of Anglian Water, Lincolnshire County Council and the Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board, and up until this week no cause behind the mystery flood had been found. Now, Lincolnshire County Council says tests have determined once and for all that the flooding is caused by a natural underground spring and the current high water tables. Led by the drainage board, a project will see a new piping system created to take water to a nearby river.

But it will come at a cost. Agencies involved will contribute 50 per cent towards the costs and those affected will have to stump up the rest.

Jon and Stephanie Bishop are upset by what has become of their garden. Mrs Bishop is saddened by the destruction of plants and shrubs planted by her mother, who lived in the house previously.

Not only that, a seating area has been damaged, apple trees have died and a summerhouse bought as a gift for Mrs Bishop’s 60th birthday is “floating away”.

Mr Bishop said: “We will pay whatever to get it sorted.”

Humphrey and Diana Platts live a couple of doors down. They built their home 25 years ago and say they have never seen flooding like it.

Mrs Platts said: “It’s been a nightmare, this has.”

They have written numerous letters and involved Grantham MP Nick Boles in a bid to get further action taken to resolve the problem.

Councillor Ray Wootten has been helping neighbours to find a solution, calling together the various agencies involved.

He said: “It has been a very worrying time for them to see the water moving closer to their properties each day.

“I do hope that the work that is going to be undertaken proves successful.”

On one occasion, several hours were spent with a fire crew called to free livestock trapped by the floods. He was full of praise for all agencies involved.

* Mark Heaton, LCC area highways manager, said: “We know how frustrating this must be for residents and are very pleased to say that, after a number of thorough investigations, a cause and solution has been found.

“The county council, together with the Internal Drainage Board, Environment Agency, South Kesteven District Council and Anglian Water have carried out a series of tests and been able to confirm that the water is not chlorinated nor can it have been as a result of previous roadworks. The problem is being caused by a natural underground spring and the current high water tables.

“The Internal Drainage Board are now leading on a project, with the county council and all the other partners also making contributions, to sort this out. A new piping system will be created which will take the water to the river in the area.”

* Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “We are aware of the flooding affecting the gardens of some homes close to the River Witham on Low Road and fully appreciate how frustrating this must be.

“One of our area managers has been in direct contact with residents since November and has been regularly updating them on our investigations. We have also been in regular contact with the Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board, Lincolnshire County Council and the highways authority.

“The floodwater has been extensively tested to make sure it is not drinking water from a leaking main or sewage. The final set of results were received last week and confirmed this is groundwater, most likely caused by the high water table given the extremely wet weather since April and the location of the homes near to the river.

“The Internal Drainage Board has suggested the problem could be solved by building a kind of land drain – known as a French Drain – which would channel groundwater away from the gardens.

“We have offered to put some money towards the construction of such a drain or, if the residents prefer, they can use the funds to hire a pump to drain the area and allow further investigations into the source of the water.”