COUNCILLORS gave the green light to recommendations from a report on the Glasdir floods – but only after an hour and a half debate in which some awkward questions were asked.
The newly-built Glasdir estate was supposed to be flood protected, yet 122 houses were badly hit last November.
The independent report said due to a build up of debris on culvert grills under the new road, water backed up and overflowed a flood defence bund.
It recommends a £250,000 scheme to raise the bund just over one metre, plus a management scheme with a network of “flood wardens” to monitor the river and defences for early warning.
The report went before a full Denbighshire County Council meeting yesterday. Ruthin Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts said: “What it doesn’t do is nail down the reasons why the original design was implemented.”
He also asked why a bank with culverts was built to support the road rather than a bridge system, why the culverts were not tested for blockage.
“Who had responsibility, control and ownership over the implementation of this flood system?” he said, “There must be some accountability.”
Fellow Ruthin Cllr Bobby Feeley asked why there was no maintenance record, and why the builders gave the one in 1,000 year figure of flood risk when the report estimated it as one in 100 years.
Report author Dr Jean Venables said the road was built by the Welsh Development Agency, who also sold the land to Taylor Wimpey with the one in 1,000 year flood defence figure.
But, she said: “It was consistent with calculations at the time.
“At that time blockages were not believed to cause that kind of problem.
“You cannot blame an authority for believing figures given to them.
“I have not in my view seen decisions that have been negligent. With hindsight they could have been better, but they were working to the standards of the time.”
Efenechtyd Cllr Eryl Williams raised concerns about the maintenance of rivers in general, echoed by Cllr Stuart Davies, who said he and fellow Llangollen Cllr Rhys Hughes had walked the river the previous day and seen debris such as a tree trunk by Ruthin Jail and tyres by the weir.
Dr Venables said she heartily agreed with the need for river maintenance standards, though funds for this available to Natural Resources Wales were dwindling, and landowners, the general public and various agencies should also be encouraged to be “mindful” to keep water courses clear.
Denbigh Cllr Colin Hughes said the network of flood wardens scheme would be beneficial across the county.
Concillors approved the Glasdir recommendations with the addition that the council note residents still felt there were unresolved issues and councillors and officers were committed to work with the Glasdir Residents Association on these.