Sefton’s attempts at managing disposal of rainwater are disastrous. Whenever it rains we all know that there is a pattern of road gullies which block, flooding roads and making the highway impassable for pedestrians crossing the roads.
The roundabout on College Road/Mersey Road, the busy junction at Warren Road/Blundellsands Road West, the subway near Blundellsands & Crosby, are all prone to flooding yet this Council has ignored the problem. A collapsed road gully and footpath on Hall Road East, near the station, has remained unattended for several months. Nobody in this Council seems to care.
We all know that eventually the floods will subside but meanwhile parents walking their children to school, or the elderly trying to cross the road to post a letter, are having to wade through water or take wide detours into the path of motor vehicles.
Perhaps part of the responsibility rests with United Utilities. If so, why does this Council not hold them to account? Why is there not a programme published showing United Utilities planned investment in our infrastructure. Contractors regularly appear to carry out camera surveys along Mersey Road and along Blundellsands Road East and West but what have they found? Driving along Hall Road East is like a roller-coaster. What plans are being prepared to rectify the problem? Why are we, the local residents, not being kept informed?
Much of the sewer system in Sefton dates from Victorian times and was not designed to modern-day standards. The collapse of many of the sewers is now showing in the road surface as potholes and subsidence appears with increased regularity. Just look at Mersey Road, Hall Road East, Blundellsands Road East and the roundabout at Bridge Road/Warren Road.
There has been some investment in a new sewer along Burbo Bank Road and pumping chambers on the shore-line near the Leisure Centre on Mariners Road and Blundellsands Road West but this is not enough to address the problems further upstream.
But how much of the problem could be solved by Sefton Council’s maintenance regime? Are the road gullies no longer being cleansed?, Are the gutters not being swept of fallen leaves?
Residents too can play their part by reporting blocked gullies when they first appear but should also be discouraged from using leaf-blowers to blow leaves from their own gardens onto the highway.
We all know that there are challenges for this Council in balancing the revenue and maintenance budget. However, skimping on highway maintenance is a false economy, leading to more costly solutions in the future.
And what about this Council’s housing strategy which has identified numerous agricultural sites for housebuilding? Just look at the situation at Lydiate Lane and Runnels Lane where the old-established sewerage system cannot cope with the additional influx of rainwater from the roads, houses and car parking areas. The same situation prevails in Formby where unrestrained housing development has been permitted to take place on agricultural land and within the designated flood plain.
What we need is:
- A published list of problem sites where flooding regularly occurs, drawn up in conjunction with Ward Councillors who should be familiar with their locality.
- A programme from United Utilities publicising their proposed works in the short, medium and long-term to replace the aged sewer infrastructure within Sefton.
- The Council to hold United Utilities to account in rectifying blocked and broken sewers.
- Urgent action, with a defined timescale, for Sefton Council’s maintenance team to carry out emergency unblocking of road gullies on key routes.
- Any new housing or business development proposals must explain how it will impact on the capacity of the public sewer system further downstream.
- A regular programme of maintenance by Sefton Council in sweeping the gutters and cleansing and jetting the road gullies.