Council investigates problem at plots site

Coun David Bawn makes a point during the meeting by the Middle Greens allotments site.
Coun David Bawn makes a point during the meeting by the Middle Greens allotments site.

Moves are under way to attempt to deal with flooding issues at allotments in Morpeth.

The town council is holding discussions with Northumberland County Council about the Middle Greens site as a blocked culvert is causing problems at some of the plots.

The issue was raised by residents during a meeting that was co-ordinated by David Bawn, county councillor for Morpeth North. Representatives of the unitary authority, Environment Agency and Morpeth Flood Action Group were in attendance.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, chair of the town council’s property and asset management committee, carried out an initial inspection of the affected areas on August 16 with Andy Cook from the Middle Greens Allotment Association and concerns have also been raised by the member for Kirkhill about the scale of overgrowth in some of the plots.

The underground culvert carries water from the Allery Burn through the site, running under two allotments, before going under the road at the end of Bennett’s Walk and discharging into the River Wansbeck. The section at the Middle Greens site is the responsibility of the town council and the section under the road is the responsibility of the county council.

Coun Tebbutt’s report to the committee says: “We need to hold discussions with the county council to see if it will clear the whole length of the culvert and find out if the culvert has been damaged because it has better access to specialist resources than the town council.

“The two outlets from the culvert are quite close to the normal level of the River Wansbeck, so it must be questionable as to whether, without valves, any actions taken could stop flooding in the allotments when the river is running high.

“Therefore, I think we should hold discussions with the county council and Environment Agency about whether valves should and can be fixed to the two outlets.

“But it was also obvious that the burn which runs through the allotments is also very overgrown in places and we should ask the association to issue reminders to allotment holders where the burn runs through their plot that they have individual responsibility for keeping the burn clear of weeds to allow free flow of water.”

Coun Bawn said that he asked the town council to investigate the culvert issue following the meeting and it would be best for the authority to liaise with the county council to determine what works need to be carried out.

He added: “The risk of surface water flooding will be the most serious potential problem in the area once the river flood defences are completed.

“The culvert needs to be cleared as soon as possible to allow proper drainage of surface water into the Wansbeck.”