Flood defence work causing further woe

Outside Fred Crossman's house on Fishergreen after heavy flooding. (S)
Outside Fred Crossman's house on Fishergreen after heavy flooding. (S)

Homeowners on Fishergreen in Ripon fear the Environment Agency’s flood defence clean-up operation could be too little, too late.

After more than 13 months of complaints from residents, the Environment Agency has confirmed it will finally clear up debris left in the River Skell.

“Loads of work still needs to be done,” said Fishergreen homeowner Fred Crossman, 64, who received a letter from the Environment Agency on January 24 blaming treacherous weather on the delay to its work. It said the work will be carried out “as soon as it is safe to do

“It is moving very slowly. If the Tour de France was coming down here, it would be fixed right away,” said Mr Crossman who said he “hounded” North Yorkshire County Council and the Environment Agency before getting a response.

In correspondence with Mr Crossman, the Environment Agency said: “Unfortunately, water levels are still high and the current cold spell also makes conditions unsafe to carry out clearance immediately.”

They confirmed an officer will continue to monitor the situation on a weekly basis and contractors will commence work “as soon as possible”.

Despite the Environment Agency’s promises, Mr Crossman remains concerned about the ugly weeds cropping up on the soil on the south bank of the river and the road’s drainage system.

“It’s good the Environment Agency have actually recognised that it’s their responsibility,” he said. “But it’s an uphill battle with the gulleys and the grass. I have lived here for 27 to 28 years and before this work started the council always used to cut the grass outside. Now it’s no man’s land.”

City Coun Stuart Martin (Con, Ripon Minster), who was liaising with the Environment Agency on behalf of homeowners, told the Gazette: “I am really pleased to read the Environment Agency is getting its contacts back to clean up the mess from the river, it’s just a shame it has taken them more than 13 months to get this action.

“What the residents now want down in Fishergreen is for the problems with standing water to be sorted and all the other outstanding issues to be resolved and hopefully it will all be done in a sensible time frame. We now need action and not just words.”