Residents are ‘living in fear’

Call for action over Axminster flooding.

An Axminster man says he is living in fear that his property will be flooded and feels, if no action is taken, the worst could happen.

Malcolm Reynolds, of Willhay Lane, experienced flooding at his home for a second time last week - only three months after the devastation caused by flooding in July.

He is now calling on the relevant body to take responsibility for a culvert and bridge located near Millbrook Stream.

“We have been trying for a very long time to get a form of understanding of who is responsible for the bridge and the culvert over Willhay Lane,” says the 68-year-old.

He added: “This can happen – it has happened twice in three months.

“Nobody is putting their hands up to say we’ll do something about this.

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“We live in fear that this will happen again.”

Mr Reynolds has lived in the area for more than seven years and recalls that there was only one near breach when there had been heavy rain for two or three days, which never managed to breach the bank.

On Monday of last week, the 68-year-old says, the banks of the stream breached causing water to rise approximately five feet - affecting his garage and garden.

Although, he explains the water did not enter his property.

He told the Midweek Herald that he believed dredging work had been carried out and a flood relief grill had been put in place.

Mr Reynolds says he has several concerns about water running down the stream at times of heavy rain which he fears could be affected by new developments nearby.

“Our main concern is that nothing appears to be planned, happening, or promised by any party regarding the culvert.” he adds.

A Devon County Council spokesman 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.”

A spokesman for Network Rail told the Midweek Herald: “The Burnt House culvert under Willhay Lane is not a National Rail structure, only the culvert under the railway is ours.

“Network Rail has not received any complaints from either the public or the local authority claiming that this culvert is to blame for the flooding of Willhay Lane.

“We do not have any reason to believe that there is a problem with the culvert.

“We have no plans to increase the capacity of this culvert.”

He added: “The culvert was extended to accommodate the Axminster Loop but the bore/capacity was not altered.

“We did receive a complaint via the Network Rail National Helpline in regard to a ditch in Willhay Park, which has been cleared of vegetation, but this was not related to Burnt House culvert.”