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Newbury flooding: Residents hit out at Thames Water as tankers remain in their road weeks on from floods





Newbury residents are still feeling the after effects of New Year floods.

And Thames Water’s response to the recent floods has faced backlash from residents who say the “same old excuses and reasons” are no longer enough to justify the hardship they have faced.

A tanker remains at Newport Road, pumping sewage out of the drain
A tanker remains at Newport Road, pumping sewage out of the drain

The arrival of 2024 brought with it what the Canal and River Trust called the “worst flooding seen in 37 years”, and while much of Newbury has recovered, residents in one area are still struggling with the seemingly lengthy process of draining excess sewage that had overflown onto the streets.

One resident in Newport Road, who asked not to be named, has voiced her despair at the constant noise in the area due to the drainage systems put in place to clear the sewage that had spilled over onto the streets.

“I haven't slept now for four nights because the water board is outside my house, pumping away all day and night,” she told this newspaper at the end of January.

“The noise is so loud it keeps me and my family awake, and other neighbours are awake too.

“I'm just hoping this is not going to be a regular thing year in, year out.”

And one member of the public told our reporter that it now “affects everyday life”.

“It’s getting to the stage where I’m grouchy all the time now, I’m agitated all the time, irritated all the time because of no sleep,” they added.

“We’ve been out there, we’ve asked them, can they turn their engines off when they’re not using it, but it just stays on.”

Work continues in Newport Road
Work continues in Newport Road

The resident said they received a formal letter from Thames Water after they complained, offering what they said was a “generic” response.

“Thames Water don’t fix anything,” the member of the public said. “They just tell you things like ‘it’s hydraulic overload’ as a reason for everything.”

While the resident said they understand the importance of the drainage work occurring, the resident has begged for a better solution.

“I do want it sorted, but I just can’t sleep at night,” they added.

The area is prone to flooding, they said, with the process “going on for 15-20 years”.

“Why’s it taken this long, you know, years ago, we had poo and everything coming up in our garden and I had to put planks across, so why wasn’t it sorted then?” they added.

The recurring issue has brought worry for the Newport Road homeowner, who has questioned: “Do I need to move? My son’s got mental health issues, I can’t put him through that, I haven’t got mental health but it’s got to the stage [where it is] stressful, very stressful.”

And now, four weeks on, the tankers are still in place, along with a flood alert from the Environment Agency covering the area.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We’re sorry for the ongoing sewer flooding issues on Newport Road in Newbury following the heavy rain, high groundwater and high river levels and storms in the area over the past few months.

"We recently responded to reports of external sewer flooding on this road on Saturday 10 February. Our engineers attended the same day and found in this instance, the heavy rainfall caused our local sewer system to overload resulting in heavily diluted wastewater to escape from nearby manholes.

"We recognise how difficult this can be for customers and we’ve been pumping away excess flows from the manholes twice a day, to prevent them from overflowing.

"We are sorry to residents for any distress the flooding may have caused and would like to assure them we will continue to communicate with them as our teams work to investigate flooding in the wider area.”



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