Blocked grill that caused the trouble is discussed

Minister visits flood site

By Gráinne Brinkley

A PROTECTIVE grill put in place to stop refuse from blocking a stream but which instead caused flooding in the Colin area in June has been deemed “not fit for purpose” by the Rivers Agency. Officials from the statutory body made their assessment during a visit to Lagmore Heights this week with the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill, who met with residents whose homes were badly damaged in the flooding.

Lagmore Heights saw some of the worst damage caused by the flooding after the residential area was engulfed by a river of water overflowing from a nearby stream that is privately owned by a housing developer.  At least 10 inches of brown sludge from a nearby building site owned by the same developer was left lying on the street and in the driveways of many residents’ homes after the flooding subsided.

Speaking during the visit, local MLA and Junior  Minister Jennifer McCann said she would work to ensure that the problem grill would be replaced with something “up to standard”.

“It’s good that the Minister is out here herself to listen to the residents as this river has burst its banks before and every time there is heavy rainfall they are concerned the flooding might happen again,” said Ms McCann.

“This development was privately built and the river is privately owned by the developers.”

Speaking during her visit to Lagmore, Minister O’Neill said: “The problem here is that the grill is not fit for purpose and that needs to be challenged.

“The Rivers Agency is with me today to look into whether we can take it on ourselves as it’s important that there are regular checks on it and that the flood defences there are actually fit for purpose, as what’s there at the minute is not.

“We can’t stop the rain but we can at least have a look at what’s in place to minimise flooding,” added Minister O’Neill.

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