Low Etherley farmer's floods misery

The Advertiser Series: BLOCKED DRAIN: Stephen Lee highlights the blocked gully directly opposed the entrance to his farm at Low Etherley. BLOCKED DRAIN: Stephen Lee highlights the blocked gully directly opposed the entrance to his farm at Low Etherley.

HIGHWAYS officials have pledged to sort out a flooding problem which has been making life a misery for a Teesdale farmer.

Stephen Lee's Low Etherley farm is situated at the lowest point of the village and he has seen much of his drive washed away and large amounts of mud and other debris deposited at the entrance to his home.

The cause of the problem is two areas of flooding on the B6282 which runs past his front gate.

Mr Lee said despite repeatedly reporting the problem to both Durham County Council and Northumbrian Water over a period of several weeks nothing had been done to rectify the situation.

At last week's Etherley parish Council meeting, he appealed to members for help with the problem.

“Our farm is at the lowest point of the village, so flood water is running off and making the drive an absolute quagmire,” he said.

Mr Lee said the problem with the road flooding continued even in periods of little or no rainfall.

“It is worse first thing on a morning – about 6.30pm to 7pm. It has built up overnight and the flood extends right across the road," he said.

“Then the water gets sprayed back into the fields by the buses, wagons and other traffic that comes along.”

Mr Lee said a second, smaller area of flooding directly opposite his farm had been causing problems for months.

“I thought it was a burst pipe but Northumbrian Water said there were no pipes on that side of the road,” he said, adding: “The water comes in and washes all the gravel away in the yard. I have just spent £140 on more gravel, but the silt and mud washes it away.”

Mr Lee said he first contacted Durham County Council in October and then again twice in November.

Etherley Parish Council clerk Alison Overfield said problems with gullies being blocked had been reported time and again.

“They are in desperate need of being cleaned,” she said.

A county council spokesperson said the flooding near Mr Lee's farm had been investigated and work was due to take place this week to unblock a gully thought to be causing the problem.

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