New Road in Wrenbury, flooded, pic by Oly Lowe

Councillors in Cheshire East are calling for action to clear blocked gullies – claiming regular reports of problems are falling on deaf ears, writes Stephen Topping.

Cheshire East Council has stepped up efforts to clear gullies following major flooding which hit the borough last summer – with an extra two gully emptying machines now used.

But Cllr Mike Hunter, Labour CEC member for Middlewich, told a scrutiny meeting he has been reporting two blocked gullies in the town for more than three years – one near Cledford Primary School, and one at the junction of Cross Lane and Booth Lane.

And he questioned whether the council’s highways team are even bothered about sorting them out.

He said: “We have got two particular gullies which have been reported by multiple residents and I have been checking – they have not been done, they are still full to the top with soil.

“In three and a half years no attempt has been made to sort the one outside the school, even though I have been checking it.

“And the one on the Cross Lane junction with Booth Lane, where a car came round the corner, aquaplaned on the water and nearly ran into me while I was waiting to go out.

“I don’t think you go and look at them gullies, I don’t think you really care about them gullies, I don’t know if it’s because you don’t have enough money to do the gullies or whatever.”

Cllr June Buckley, Liberal Democrat member for Alsager, also suggested that issues raised frequently in her ward have not been resolved.

She pointed out a blocked gully in Crewe Road, near Alsager Farm Shop, where water ‘is flowing across the road’ – and another at the Linley Lane bridge that has flooded three times this winter.

Cllr Buckley added: “It just seems to be that in Alsager we report these problems with gullies, you say you are reacting but nothing continually gets done.

“Sorry for the rant, but I am constantly having residents get in touch with me, I am constantly [reporting] it and nothing happens.”

Andrew Ross, director of infrastructure and highways at CEC, reassured members of the environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny committee that blocked gullies would be emptied – and urged them to keep reporting problems to the council.

He said: “The council does have funds for gully emptying and we have our inspection regimes.

“But this year has been an exceptional year in that the borough has suffered three major flooding events.

“Sadly the works that we have done following the inspection and gully emptying process earlier this financial year were rendered – I wouldn’t say useless, but the impact of the flooding is that thousands and thousands of gullies that had been emptied ended up being filled again.

“We are running into the tens of thousands of gullies that have been emptied now.

“That’s not to say that it isn’t an important activity and we recognise that.

“We would always encourage members and the community to keep informing us and reporting when gullies are full.

“But we are having to deploy significant additional resources. We haven’t yet caught up with the impact of all the flooding that has happened.”

To report a blocked gully to CEC visit cheshireeasthighways.org/report-it-general.aspx

One Comment

  1. Nigel Dibben says:

    It’s not just the gulleys, often the problem lies in the drainage away from the gulley. They have lacked maintenance for so long that clearing gulleys AND drainage will be a major – but essential – job. I have reported several on behalf of Hatherton & Walgherton Parish Council but it takes an extreme case before anything gets done. One blocked outside our house is currently threatening to lead to flooding of our property. We have a number of the problems listed on a website: handwroads.org.uk.

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