Watch: Newbuildings residents fear flooding by surface runoff

A number of residents of Primity Crescent in Newbuildings have expressed concern their homes will be inundated by run off surface water, which is overwhelming local drainage systems during severe weather.

Two of them - one a pensioner - braved the elements with shovels and rods as last Wednesday evening’s thaw and heavy rain set in.

The residents told the paper that the problem occurs about three or four times every year and they want it addressed for good.

“They are going to have to fix this problem. It should not be going on. Not in 2015,” said one.

“If we weren’t out here doing what we are doing and keeping these drains open...”

It’s been an issue in the Primity Crescent area for over two decades, according to residents, who say inadequate drainage and blocked gullies are causing water to flow from neighbouring fields towards the homes of elderly residents and young families when there is heavy rainfall.

One problematic and saturated field, which immediately bounds the estate, also betrays evidence of fly-tipping.

A ‘No Dumping’ sign placed on a gate leading to it (pictured), and which bears the logos of both Derry City Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), declares: “This site has been cleared by Derry City Council in partnership with NIEA.”

However, both the NIEA and Derry City Council said this referred to clearance work undertaken some years ago.

A Council spokesperson said: “Council was involved with NIEA in a joint operation removing waste from the site.”

The spokesperson said it was the Council’s understanding NAMA had been in possession of loans attached to the land in question.

But NAMA told the Sentinel it has no connection to the property. It sold its Northern Ireland portfolio last year.

Meanwhile, the residents remain frustrated by what they view as an inadequate statutory response to their concerns. “Every time you phone they always say there’s worse flooding,” said one.

A spokesperson for the Department of Regional Development (DRD) said: “TransportNI are aware of occasional flooding to the rear of Primity Crescent.

“The field behind Primity Crescent is higher than the roads and footways within the estate. During periods of heavy rain or when snow thaws, water from the field runs down into the estate over third party land.

“TNI have no responsibility to prevent this water emanating from the land, that rests with the landowner.

“TNI are willing to explore this issue with all interested parties in the hope that a resolution to this problem can be identified.”