Preston Council Leaders Get A Sandbagging In Ribble Flood Furore
Riversway Councillor Jack Davenport made his point about the blindness of the leadership of Preston City Council to issues of flood risk around drainage and flood defences near the Ribble very vividly at the last City Council meeting, he produced two sandbags which he proceeded to place at in front of Council leader Ken Hudson and his ally Danny Gallagher, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Preston.
According to the Lancashire Evening Post Jack Davenport's "attention grabbing stunt" was a protest over the "plans to build homes on flood plains near the River Ribble... sand was spilled all over council papers and prompted a furore in the chamber over how the bags got past Town Hall security"
The protest came a month after the Council flatly refused to debate a motion about the risk of flooding to Preston residents - the council leaders preferring to put the interests of the developers interested in the Riverworks Project ahead of the interests of Preston People.
Council Leader Ken Hudson told this latest Council meeting that:
"The Conservative group is happy to talk to anyone else prepared to look at funding a study for the Riverworks project"
- they are happy to talk to anyone willing to progress the Riverworks barrage but NOT talk to anyone concerned about the environmental impacts or flooding risks!
Bizarrely, Ken Hudson then went on to accuse those councillors concerned about these issues and who DO wish to discuss them of sticking their "heads in the silt of the river... waiting to be drowned" when it is clearly the pro-barrage lobby who are refusing to listen to the evidence and discuss the issues!
Jack Davenport is calling for urgent action in the wake of severe flooding across the country, that shows how vulnerable many areas are to flash flooding, particularly where drainage and flood defences are inadequate. (As they certainly are near Broadgate and Middleforth).
The risk of flooding to residents in these areas would be greatly increased if the council were to build huge new housing estates on the greenbelt and floodplain land that lines the River Ribble, or if they were to build a barrage across the Ribble in order to raise it to permanent high tide level. Preston City Council says they may be 'going back to the drawing board' with some of these plans from Riverworks, due to questions of whether they are acceptable to South Ribble Council. (Though the fact that they are totally unacceptable to ordinary people in both Preston and South Ribble, or to any environmental organisation does not seem to concern our Council Officials)
One Save The Ribble member was so impressed with Jack Davenport's action that he sent him the following email:
Dear Councillor Davenport,
I'm writing to salute your recent protest on behalf of Broadgate residents about the Riverworks plans.
I feel you are doing an excellent job bringing the flood risk posed by the Riverworks Barrage and Housing ideas to public attention, you are doing exactly what a democratic representative of the public should be doing.
You may be criticised for it by a few political hacks, but I definitely think the idea of using sandbags in this way showed imagination, panache and not a little courage, that will be appreciated by ordinary Prestonians.
Thankyou for representing me so well as one of your constituents, and keep up the good work!
Thatcher used to give her ministers a handbagging - Now Jack Davenport gives Preston Council Leaders a sandbagging!
Jack Davenport said to Save The Ribble:
"the issue I was trying to raise was the issue of flooding from drainage. The issue of Riverworks, though related, was not the exact topic of discussion (that is to come), but the general issue however is that the current administration appears blind to the whole thing and won't discuss it. I've heard of putting ones head in the sand, but never putting it in a sandbag!"
Let us know your own response to Councillor Davenport's sandbag protest by replying to this article below!