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Rutland County Council calls special meeting to discuss flooding in wake of Storm Henk





County councillors will publicly discuss recent flooding at a special meeting next week.

Rutland County Council has called the meeting in response to Storm Henk, which left a number of roads across the county flooded and affected businesses.

It will be held in the main council chamber in Oakham from 7pm on Thursday, January 18, and streamed live online via Zoom. The agenda and a link to the livestream will be available on the council’s website at: www.rutland.gov.uk/meetings.

The flooding on the A6003 at Manton. Photo: Megan Allen
The flooding on the A6003 at Manton. Photo: Megan Allen

The meeting has been called by Coun Lucy Stephenson and five other elected members. In a letter signed by councillors Stephenson, Karen Payne, David Wilby, Kiloran Heckels, Giles Clifton and Matthew Farina, as well as Rutland MP Alicia Kearns, they queried what had been done since flooding in October to protect the county.

Rutland County Council’s constitution requires notice from five sitting county councillors to convene a special meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to examine what action can be undertaken to address matters relating to flooding in the future.

Cabinet member for transport, environment and communities Christine Wise (Lib Dem) said: “Officers from across the council have been working tirelessly as part of a massive multiagency response to the recent flooding. This has included support for elderly and vulnerable residents in Barleythorpe, who needed help to leave their homes because of the floodwater, as well as responding to well over 20 incidents of flooding or partial flooding on roads across the length and breadth of the county.

“We’ve also been working closely with neighbouring authorities who’ve been badly affected by Storm Henk. A special council meeting has been called by elected members to discuss the issue of flooding and its impact on local communities. The meeting will be open to the public, who can watch and participate as normal.”

Members of the public can contribute to the special council meeting on Thursday, January 18, by asking a question or making a deputation. All questions must be sent by email to: democraticservices@rutland.gov.uk by midday on Monday, January 15.

Requests to make a deputation must be sent by email to: democraticservices@rutland.gov.uk by midday on Monday, January 15, with the text of the deputation sent by midday on Thursday, January 18.

Rutland MP Alicia Kearns (Con) met the Local Government Minister, Simon Hoare MP, to discuss Government funding and support for flooding locally.

Mrs Kearns said: “Having visited some of the worst affected communities in Oakham and Whitwell, it is clear the damage is devastating, and we must do all we can to secure the Government support we so urgently need.

“I will also continue to urge the county council to respond adequately and learn swiftly from recent flood events, to ensure we are better prepared ahead of any further inclement weather.”

Letter

“We have been contacted by many residents in the wake of the recent floods across the county, some repeating their thoughts following the floods in October. Immediate action needs to be taken to ensure Rutland, working with the relevant agencies, is in the best position to manage flooding in the future.

In response to residents’ concerns, we have used our constitutional rights to call a special meeting of the council to enable a full debate in public regarding the unprecedented flood events that have taken place in recent months. This will also enable members of the public to ask questions and make deputations about this, if they wish to.

Crucially, we wish to understand what actions have been undertaken by the administration after the October flooding and how this informed the response last week.

This will also enable all councillors to consider how we can best use the mechanisms of our council, such as scrutiny to support this vital work and support the administration in the priorities they set, with clarity and clear policies for delivery at an operational level.

Finally, we hope that those of you who are facing difficulties because of the floods are resolving these as smoothly as can be expected.”

Couns Lucy Stephenson, Karen Payne, David Wilby, Kiloran Heckels, Giles Clifton, Matthew Farina (Conservative Group), Alicia Kearns MP (Rutland)



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