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Pumps at flood-prone Compiegne Way, in Bury St Edmunds, are ‘fighting against the height of the River Lark’ due to record rainfall





A leading councillor has addressed the ongoing flooding at a major Bury St Edmunds route.

Cllr Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for operational highways and flooding, said pumps on the A143 Compiegne Way were fighting against the height of the River Lark following record rainfall.

The key road shut on Sunday and reopened on Monday but was submerged again today on one side.

More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley
More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley

It was the second closure due to flooding this year, with the first lasting nearly four weeks in January and work was carried out to try to fix the problem.

The road has repeatedly flooded in recent years, causing traffic chaos in the town.

Cllr West said the county was seeing the heaviest and most persistent rainfall on record, with repeated deluges falling on already saturated ground.

More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley
More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley

“River levels are high meaning the drains cannot move water away quickly,” he said.

“In this particular case, the pumps at Compiegne Way are fighting against the height of the River Lark.

“In periods of severe weather such as this, the only course of action can be to close roads for the safety of motorists.

“However, with the recent work carried out at Compiegne Way the pumps will spring back into action and clear the standing water as soon as the river levels subside.

More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley
More flooding issues in Compiegne Way, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mark Westley

“We have been working tirelessly to clear drains and repair roads following recent bad weather and will continue to do so to keep our county moving.”

The Environment Agency said Suffolk's February rainfall up to Monday was 78mm, which was 179 per cent of the month's average.

Meanwhile, Adrian Graves, a Great Barton resident, raised concerns over a lack of signage warning drivers of the flooding in Compiegne Way.

"Sooner or later, if they don't take mitigation action, there will be a serious accident," he said.

"The biggest problem is that trucks going west are driving down the wrong side of the road and traffic coming the other way is being forced onto the verge."

He said there was 'totally inadequate' warning of what motorists are going to meet when they go around the roundabout.

SuffolkNews revealed last week that more than £500,000 was spent trying to fix the flooding in Compiegne Way in one year alone.

In January, verge deterioration was costed at £2,969 after vehicles used the grass verge to avoid the flood water.

But despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent, and repeated repairs, flooding persists.

It has prompted councillors to call for a long-term solution to fix the issue.

Suffolk County Council is due to investigate the cause of the January flood.

Last week, a council spokesperson said: “We will shortly be carrying out a Section 19 investigation into Compiegne Way, which is an independent review outlined in the flood and water management act 2010, following a flood event of this severity.

“This will provide wider context as to why this area is prone to flooding and present some recommendations on how flood risk could be better managed going forward.

“Once this investigation is complete we will have a better idea on a longer-term plan for managing flooding at Compiegne Way.”

Rain is forecast until 4pm today with a yellow weather warning for rain tomorrow from 5am to 5pm.