Floods heighten concerns about state of Harrogate district drains and gullies
Last updated Feb 3, 2024
Flooding on Slingsby Walk footpath and St James Drive in Harrogate.

Harrogate district residents have expressed concerns about the state of local drains and gullies.

Recent storms have led to flooding and although water levels are high, the Stray Ferret has had a flurry of messages from readers who feel the infrastructure to deal with rain is inadequate.

Paul Kelley said Slingsby Walk in Harrogate had been turned into a stream and residents were having to take action. He said:

“For many months, indeed years in others’ experience, excess water runs off the Stray and creates a stream along Slingsby Walk footpath and on St James Drive where it floods at the lowest point.

“Residents are having to run a floodwatch, involving at times hourly clearance of debris from the few functioning gullies. On occasions this involves standing in the road at night or hacking ice away and risking slipping.

“Both the excess water and ice are hazards to walkers, cyclists, and motorists. The route is a designated cycleway! An accident is waiting to happen.”

Mr Kelley said he and his neighbours had highlighted the issue to a councillor but were “not getting anywhere”.

He added:

“The only significant thing to have happened, after months of asking, is a gully wagon was allegedly sent out last week.

“Well at least one, opposite me, is still full of debris!”

‘Foul water bubbling up’ near Pannal

Robert Newton said he saw “toilet paper and other stuff” flowing among the flooded areas near Almsford Bank in Pannal.

He told the Stray Ferret:

“[This] then ran down across the public footpath and into the River Crimple.

“We hear all the time about sewage in our watercourses, but for this to flow right across where people walk and take their dogs and kids really surprised me. I would have thought this was a public health issue.

“There is obviously something seriously amiss as the foul water is bubbling up from underground all around the main outfall area.”

The Stray Ferret has received several other emails raising similar concerns.

The flooded Pannal footpath.

Officers ‘work tirelessly’ to keep gullies clean

North Yorkshire Council’s highways area manager, Melisa Burnham, said in response to the concerns:

“Our officers work tirelessly throughout the year to keep gullies clean and operational. We have a programme of regular cleaning, which check that they are fully functioning and can involve clearing the pipes.

“Many parts of the country have experienced exceptional levels of rainfall in recent days and following a prolonged wet period the ground is already saturated and prone to standing water.

“In several places across North Yorkshire, flooding occurred in areas with clean and well-maintained drainage systems. When we get significant heavy rainfall such as this, the gullies and the drainage system can’t cope with the volume of rainwater.

“In places such as Stray Rein, we see significant run-off from the Stray. However, in this instance the gullies and pipework coped extremely well, with no reports of flooded properties.”

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