Blocked brook causes a stink

A brook which runs through the heart of Southend is causing a stench after becoming blocked by fly-tippers.

Prittlebrook, which runs from the River Roche, through Southend to Thundersley. is blocked where it passes near Victoria Avenue.

Residents report a mattress appears to have been dumped there along with a shopping trolley and other items, preventing the brook from draining and causing it to become stagnant.

Residents say they have reported the matter to Southend Council and the Environment Agency, but no action has been taken.

Resident Helen Prendergast said: “They just keep passing the problem on saying it’s not them. Nine hours after the flash flooding you could see just a tip of the up-ended double mattress.

“There was no further response from the council to my questions. The environmental agency responded and said it was not their responsibility. But I can’t find it. I have also reported it repeatedly on Your Southend.”

Ms Prendergast added: “There is an upended shopping trolley on its side and you can just see the side of it that’s how deep it is.

“I don’t know if it is linked but Fairfax Drive is experiencing a number of sink holes, one of which is now sewage pipe damage. Fairfax runs in line with the brook. Who knows, all the sink holes could be in relation to rising water levels from the brook which runs in parallel. They weren’t occurring previously. The pavement even lifted at the bottom of Hainault after the rain on Saturday – I’ve never seen that

“I reported it on fix my street too. No response. There is often flooding in Leigh due to the brook, the water backs up all the way along. But that water is a good 2-3ft deep when it’s normally only 5-6in at this time of year.”

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said: “As I understand it, it’s the Environment Agency. They have a sign up there with a number for people to call. We have been in touch with the parks department, the Environment Agency and engineers to get some action to solve this problem.

“There is some thought that a development nearby might be exacerbating the problem.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We are investigating a blockage in the Prittle Brook in Southend and will take enforcement action if necessary.

“We are working closely with Southend Council and will use our permissive powers to clear the brook if needed.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter