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Waterlogged for Christmas

THIS is the sight that greets a Shirley family of five when they look out the window at the stagnant lake that is their back garden.

THIS is the sight that greets a Shirley family of five when they look out the window at the stagnant lake that is their back garden.

The Clarksons who live in Ralph Road moved into their home in June this year and since then their 100 foot garden has been submerged in filthy water due to a blocked drain behind the property.

Now mum-of-three, Toni Clarkson, is at the end of her tether and says the safety of her children is at risk.

“There is a long history of flooding in the area. It’s not just our garden that’s flooded, my neighbour’s is much worse and the majority of our neighbours have a flooding problem.

“I initially contacted the council and spoke to John Coutes at the drainage department.

“He tried to say it was a brook and that we were all responsible for clearing our own part but many of the elderly residents here say they clearly remember prisoners of war clearing the drain and culvert further down the road.”

Mrs Clarkson, husband Paul and children Dale, aged 12, Lewis, seven and Jacob, three say the smell from the water is dreadful, permeating even into the house.

What’s worse, the youngsters were covered in insect bites from the quagmire during the summer and have been unable to play in the garden since they moved in.

“It’s a health and safety issue. My youngest is an exceptionally lively three-year-old and no matter how good a mother you are you can’t keep a eye on your children 24/7,” said Toni.

“My children look like they have chickenpox - they are covered in bites because it’s a swamp.

“There’s algae floating on top, and the water bubbles. It’s vile stinking water. I have contacted Councillor Ian Hedley (Lib Dem Shirley East ) who has been out to look at the garden.

“The council haven’t even bothered to reply to me personally but they have contacted Coun Hedley.

“They now say the drain needs a digger and we are a priority four to have it cleared but all it needs is a gang of labourers with spades.

“I just want them to clear it so I can put drainage in my garden and get on with repairing it.”

The council said it did not know who owned the land but Jim Harte, acting corporate director - community services at Solihull Council said: “We sympathise with residents who have experienced flooding in their gardens and understand the difficulties they may face.

“We have advised the residents that we do not believe we own this piece of land.

“We have in the past carried out small works to try and alleviate the drainage issues, however as we do not own the land we will not be proposing to carry out any further work.

“We will continue to offer advice to residents and if they would like to discuss this further they can contact us on 0121 704 8000.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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