17th January 2022
Wraysbury Drain STILL blocked after three years
A clogged part of the Wraysbury Drain by Feathers Lane, Wraysbury.
Picture by Ewan Larcombe – taken on Jan 9, 2022
A FED-UP councillor has unleashed his fury as parts of an important watercourse remain clogged up despite promises this would be cleared.
For nearly three years, parts of the ancient 2.5 miles long Wraysbury Drain have been blocked by debris, tree roots and gravel, disrupting the flow of the water and land drainage.
The drain, which is about 200 years old, runs from near Wraysbury train station to Hythe End, where it joins with the Thames.
However, Independent councillor Ewan Larcombe (Datchet, Horton, & Wraysbury) said the watercourse is not fully functioning as parts of it at the station and at Feathers Lane have remained clogged for nearly three years despite raising the issue to the council and receiving promises it will be fixed.
Parts of the drain fall under private landowners’ boundaries, meaning they are the ones responsible for repairing and maintaining their part of the watercourse.
Cllr Larcombe said the Royal Borough Council has invested £150,000 over the years on the Wraysbury Drain but believes it would be more “cost-effective” to take enforcement action against the riparian owners, forcing them to clear their part of the drain.
He said: “The borough does not like confrontation like that because it costs them money, but I would far rather they spent the money taking on the landowner than going in there and clearing it up at our expense.”
Councillor David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton, & Wraysbury), cabinet member for public protection, said: “We are liaising with property owners and want to work with them to resolve this complex issue as soon as practically possible. The council has contacted a number of properties asking owners to clear blockages in sections of the Wraysbury Drain they are responsible for in their capacity as riparian landowners.
“We always seek to work with landowners in the first instance and to give them reasonable opportunity and support to undertake works. However, one option available to us as a last resort is formal enforcement action where riparian owners are obliged to undertake the necessary work to remove any blockages.
“In some sections there has been unauthorised backfilling of the channel which has reduced the proper flow of water within the watercourse.
“Further on site investigations and works to improve the flow of the drain are due to be carried out in due course, although this will not be able to fully resolve the problem which would require the full support of the riparian landowners.”
But patience is wearing thin from Cllr Larcombe, who said Cllr Cannon is a “long list of excuses”. He said: “It’s really very simple. Clean out the channel.”
Cllr Cannon declined to comment further.