Rory Stewart MP has met with local residents at Wetheriggs Country Park to look at the failing drainage system, which has caused sewerage to be washed up onto pathways and grass verges throughout the park, during heavy downpours.
The park, which is located between Clifford Road and the A66, is well used by families, dog walkers, sports clubs and schools, and residents are concerned about the risks to public health and safety. Previous attempts have been made to fix the problem, without success, since stakeholders have not been able to agree on an appropriate, affordable solution.
Adrian Todd (Con, Orton with Tebay), services portfolio holder for Eden District Council, said: “Along with the local community, the council are in contact with the United Utilities to report any issues and to ensure any clean up and reinstatement works are carried out as quickly as possible. We understand local people’s concerns and frustrations and will continue to speak to local residents and businesses in the area.”
A spokesman for United Utilities said: “We appreciate that this is an unpleasant issue and we are doing what we can to help residents. We regularly clean the local sewer network to make sure it is operating at full capacity, however during heavy rainstorms it overflows due to the volume of water. We will always attend to do a clean-up afterwards and we will also arrange to reinstate the damaged footpath. Unfortunately there is no quick fix to the problem and it would need a major engineering solution to stop the flooding. Our capital investment program has limited funds for tackling sewer flooding and we must prioritise the worst cases where homes are flooded internally. We constantly review our funding priorities, but at present there are no plans to carry out any capital improvement work at this location.”
Speaking after the site visit, Rory Stewart said: “It is important that United Utilities work together with the Council and local residents to find a realistic, feasible, affordable way forward. This is a public facility, and it must be safe and pleasant to use, and it is vitally important that there are no further delays in agreeing and implementing the right engineering solution. I will continue to work with local residents on this and will be meeting with Cllr Adrian Todd this week to discuss the options available.”