Happy solution to a longrunning flooding problem

Coun Smith surveys the problem in 'Happy Alley' before it was solved
Coun Smith surveys the problem in 'Happy Alley' before it was solved

A flood problem involving a popular Longridge path which has been long-running in more ways than one has at last been solved.

And it is all thanks to Coun David Smith’s research to find owners of the land and to United Utilities for stepping in last week and being determined to find the cause.

Water had been flowing from a culvert on to the “Happy Alley” path from Chapel Hill for many years, threatening to destroy the pathway to Pinfold Lane, which is regularly used by walkers, horse riders and trekkers as well as several homeowners .

It got so bad that its closure was threatened by Lancashire County Council which is responsible for the road surface, but not the verges housing the culvert.

However, strong objections by residents such as Derek and Sylvia Bentham, whose home is on the route which is also their only emergency access, saved the day.

“When it was brought to my attention some 15 months ago, discussions were held between UU and LCC as to 
responsibility,” Coun Smith recalled.

“The road is unadopted and designated as a bridleway. The discharge of water was thought originally to be a leak from the Alston 2 reservoir, and a roadside tree was felled, as its roots were thought to be the cause.”

The Land Registry had no record of ownership and negotiations continued, but the result was an impasse with neither LCC nor UU prepared to spend money on a road they did not own.

Then Coun Smith met with UU engineer Carl Balshaw, from the White Bull plant in Grimsargh. The company agreed to work on the problem, without accepting liability, at their expense. The road was closed for three days and they solved the problem.

“What a great result and after so many years,” was Coun Smith’s jubilant response.

Mr Balshaw said: “I know flooding on the path was a major concern for the local community. And after many years of no one taking ownership I thought enough is enough. I decided in my own time to trawl through old plans to see where this pipe ran, and to look into what we could do to sort this issue out.

“And with the support of my team we decided to dig down and over a three-day period we managed to fix the problem. No longer will we have to worry about anyone slipping over and hurting themselves on the path.

“I’m just delighted our gesture of goodwill has made so many local people happy.”