Resident’s fears over more housing as sewerage system buckles

Liz Hunton and David Birch are running a charity to raise money for people in Gambia. Picture: Ian B

Residents Liz Hunton and brother David Birch, who have homes that back onto one another, are unable to cross their shared garden when the manhole cover floods. - Credit: IAN BURT

A woman who has been repeatedly unable to use her toilet or garden because of water overflowing from a manhole has called for the rejection of a 50-home development that she fears will worsen the problem.

Lizzie Hunton, 64, of Mattishall, said a manhole cover in her garden had overflowed for the fourth time in five months, leaving her property contaminated and toilet unusable. 

Lizzie Hunton's flooded garden

Lizzie Hunton's flooded garden - Credit: Submitted

Mrs Hunton believes other Mattishall households have suffered similar problems and said: “In this day and age, I don’t expect to have sewage flooding into my back garden on a regular basis. 

“If they now put another 50 houses into the system, where is that going to leave us?” she added.

On Monday, Breckland council’s planning committee will decide whether to allow the building of 50 new homes by Hopkins Homes south of Dereham Road. The plans have been recommended for approval.


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Some 86 separate objections to the proposals have been received by Breckland, while two have been received in support. 

The design for the 50 homes proposed by Hopkins Homes, south of Dereham Road in Mattishall

The design for the 50 homes proposed by Hopkins Homes, south of Dereham Road in Mattishall. - Credit: Hopkins Homes

But Hopkins Homes say the development will actually improve drainage in the area.

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Simon Bryan, Development Director of Hopkins Homes, said the new development would bring "significant improvements to the existing drainage infrastructure".

“Outline planning permission has previously been approved for 50 homes on this site and we are pleased that planning officers are recommending our development for full planning permission is approved," he said.

He added: “We are aware local people are concerned about drainage in the area.

"As part of our plans, we have commissioned a detailed, independent flood-risk assessment and surface water drainage strategy.

"This includes creating a substantial new water drainage network and drainage ponds within the public open space.

"As a result, the development will help to improve water drainage for new and existing residents.”

Lizzie Hunton's flooded garden

Lizzie Hunton's flooded garden - Credit: Submitted

An Anglian Water spokesperson confirmed teams had attended Mrs Hunton's home.

However, they said the problem was not a problem with its system, but rather a result of rivers bursting their banks.

“Sewers are simply not designed to carry water from rivers that have burst or spilled over, or the volume of floodwater we’ve seen following such persistent rainfall," they said.

“This is what is causing the flooding we are seeing, rather than a specific problem with our network."

Asked how it could be “only water” if it came from a sewer, the spokesperson said: “There is no evidence that the water is from the sewers.”

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