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‘Incompetence’ blamed for repeated Bury St Edmunds Compiegne Way flooding issues





Questions are being asked about flooding on a major Bury St Edmunds route – eight months after works to tackle the long-running problem were completed.

The A143, at Compiegne Way, has been repeatedly flooded since the onset of autumn and winter – with both lanes under water at points over the past week.

Colin Payne, who has lived in nearby Hollow Road for nearly 70 years, said the issue was ‘due to Suffolk Highways incompetence yet again’.

Questions are being asked about repeated flooding in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mark Westley
Questions are being asked about repeated flooding in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mark Westley

“We drove through the flood on Saturday afternoon and we were so surprised the road hadn't been closed completely by either Suffolk Highways or the Police,” said Colin.

“The spray from passing vehicles was going way over the top of the vehicles going in the opposite direction and way above the exhaust pipes on cars travelling towards the A14 and the Thetford road.”

Last month, Suffolk Highways said it would inspect the pumping system following two storms, as high rainfall meant the outfall from the system into the river had been under water, affecting flows.

Questions are being asked about repeated flooding in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mark Westley
Questions are being asked about repeated flooding in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds Picture by Mark Westley

Colin said: “A layman's quick fix would possible be to couple up a 90 degree bend to the end of the discharge pipe and heighten it somewhat, which would then mean the pumps would need to be uprated with an improved 'pumping head'️

“I wouldn't be surprised if the pumps have burned themselves out, what with them having to pump the storm water up against the river water all the time.”

In April, Suffolk Highways said it had removed more than 100 tonnes of silt from the drainage system and installed new pumps.

At that time, Suffolk Highways said its measures to tackle the long-running problem included:

- Clearing silt from the system

- Installing new and bigger pumps

- An early warning system for silt build-up

- An enhanced biannual servicing plan

The flood-hit stretch, alongside the British Sugar plant, has been subject to many flood-related closures in recent years.

In March, an emergency closure was put in place after the drainage pumps failed.

A Suffolk Highways spokesperson said on Thursday: “We are aware of the ongoing flooding at this location.

“We are working to attend site and clear the floodwater as soon as possible.”