Row over flooding at railway bridge as Bedford council takes legal action against Network Rail

But Network Rail says Bedford Borough Council is responsible
The railway bridge at Lovell Road in ClaphamThe railway bridge at Lovell Road in Clapham
The railway bridge at Lovell Road in Clapham

Bedford council says it’s pursuing legal action in a row over flooding under a railway bridge.

The council says it is being forced to pursue legal action under the Land Drainage Act as ongoing flooding issues under the bridge on Lovell Road in Clapham pose safety risks to pedestrians and motorists.

But Network Rail says the council is responsible for the issue.

In a statement, Bedford Borough Council said: “This prolonged concern has been attributed to the failure of the drainage network situated on Network Rail's land adjacent to the railway bridge.

“Despite numerous appeals and repeated requests made by the Bedford Borough Council for Network Rail to address the infrastructure, or to allow Council engineers access to fix the issue, a resolution has not been achieved. The persisting problem poses safety risks for both pedestrians and motorists when the road becomes flooded, particularly during periods of heavy rain.”

Jim Weir, portfolio holder for environment, highways, and transport at Bedford Borough Council, added: "The flooding issue under the railway bridge on Lovell Road has been a matter of serious concern for our community for several months, if not years. The failure of the drainage network on Network Rail's land poses a direct threat to the safety of pedestrians, especially children accessing schools in Oakley from Clapham, and motorists who use this route."

A temporary footway is now under development under the bridge as the route is the only safe walking route to the schools in Oakley – and should be in place as soon as possible in the new year.

But motorists are being advised to avoid the route during heavy rainfall – and instead take the route along Milton Road to Highfield Road to Station Road, and vice versa.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “As discussed with Bedford Borough Council, Network Rail’s position is that Bedford Borough Council are responsible for the issue with the highways drain.

“However, Network Rail is seeking to engage with Bedford Borough Council regarding the highways drain with a view to resolving the issue, noting the urgency.”