A COUNCILLOR has hit out at delays to flood investigations in Cheshire West, saying residents are worried about what the winter might bring.

Cheshire West and Chester had been hit hard by floods in recent years, particularly in Northwich Town Centre in October 2019 and on January 20 this year due to Storm Christoph.

Cheshire West and Chester’s ruling Cabinet recently received an update on flood investigations where they were told a number of measures are being taken, including a temporary resilience plan for Northwich with additional pumping capacity which can remove the equivalent of 1,000 litres a second of excess water a day, the same volume as 34 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

But during the meeting, Councillor for Marbury Lynn Gibbon (Conservative) said: “This long-awaited report is one of delay, disappointment and lack of due diligence in undertaking regular maintenance in line with the council’s statutory duties as the lead local flood authority.

“Delaying investigating the floods of October 19 in Northwich, with a section 19 report finally approved by cabinet on March 17, 2021 – which is 16 months late, and works are still not all completed.

“Delay in producing today’s section 19 interim report – and I do stress interim report – expected in three months and taking nine months, with no date when we can expect the final report.”

She told members she will be meeting the DEFRA minister on November 30, adding: “Now that winter is here and the weather is so unpredictable, people are worried and they need confirmation of what is being done in their areas, what is going to be done and when.”

Chairing the meeting, Cllr Karen Shore (Labour), admitted the 2019 report had been delayed which she said was down to the pandemic. She said work was also ongoing to keep local communities informed of developments.

Northwich Winnington and Castle Cllr Bob Cernik (Labour) said he was on the ground after Storm Christoph and saw first hand the devastation.

He told the meeting: “The Edwardian and Victorian sewage system in and around Northwich can’t cope with the huge catchment area of water.

“Both in 2019 and 2021, the flooding in Northwich was caused by the same mechanism, as soon as the river levels in the River Dane and the River Weaver rise above the outfalls, there’s nowhere for the surface water to escape.

“There has been some very positive action in the last month or so, there are some very powerful pumps installed in Baron’s Quay and they’ve also been installed in Dock Road.”