Long Marston villagers say: “Fix our drains or we will be flooded time and time again”

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Villagers say the drains near their homes are not fit for purpose and unless something is done about it, they could be flooded again next time it rains heavily.

They were speaking at a meeting of Tring Rural Parish Council last night, where a large group of people gathered to voice their fears about the problem.

The meeting heard that Chapel Lane in Long Marston has been flooded four times since Boxing Day. The floods stretched down the street to its junction with Station Road, villagers said.

Most recently, firefighters had to use pumping equipment to remove water from a premises after being called there on Tuesday.

The woman who lives there told the meeting that she rang Thames Water and the Environment Agency, who did nothing, before calling for help from the emergency services.

She said: “Every night now when it rains we are in fear of flooding and yes, we can clear the ditches and the community yesterday was absolutely fantastic.

“But to have to call 999 to stop my house from flooding is a disgrace.”

She asked not to be named in our article. The meeting heard that she and her neighbours had to buy their own sandbags to defend their homes from the floodwaters earlier in the week.

Keith Foster, of Chapel Lane, said: “This is threatening our village.”

He said neighbours should form a group to ensure that all of the ditches are cleared, so rainwater can seep into fields nearby.

But villager Jim McMunn said: “We have had the water people round and they say the pipes are not fit for purpose - the drains don’t work.”

Meeting chairman Michael Tomlinson said Thames Water is responsible for the village’s drains and the Environment Agency is responsible for looking after rivers and brooks.

Mr McMunn said: “If they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, we are still going to get flooded.”

Thames Water later said extra teams have been working ‘around the clock’ to deal with the widespread problems caused by extreme rainfall.

Floodwater is going into sewers designed to take only wastewater from homes and businesses, not rivers too, and the water company’s network is under enormous pressure.

Contractors completed a staggering 700 jobs on Monday, and at its peak over a five-hour period were finishing off one job every minute.

On the same day, the company’s customer contact centre received more than four times as many calls as normal about its waste network.