The tranquillity of a rural countryside village has been shattered amid an argument over an overflowing river that has flooded gardens.

Jill Regan, who lives in Old Court, Long Melford, said her neighbours' gardens have been flooded repeatedly in recent months as the Chad Brook, which runs behind their homes, separated only by a small patch of district council-owned land, is overflowing.

Ms Regan said she believes a lack of maintenance to trees on the other side of the river at the historic Melford Hall estate is partly to blame for the flooding.

East Anglian Daily Times: The land between the homes and the Chad BrookThe land between the homes and the Chad Brook (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"To my mind it is so short-sighted. With the talk of climate change and all of the excessive rain common sense would be to keep the water way as clear as possible," said Ms Regan.

"It is only a matter of next time and it will be my house and so it'll go on and on. 

"I am very frustrated because at 67 I am quite a logical person with some experience of life. 

"You have got to do little maintenance repairs as you go along and for the last five or six years that hasn't happened," she added.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jill Regan, who lives in Old Court, Long Melford, said her neighbours' gardens have been flooded repeatedlyJill Regan, who lives in Old Court, Long Melford, said her neighbours' gardens have been flooded repeatedly (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Melford Hall, which is now a National Trust property, is the ancestral home of the Hyde-Parker family after it was sold to Sir Harry Parker, 6th Baronet, in 1786.

Richard William Hyde-Parker, 12th Baronet, died on March 14, 2022, and was succeeded by his son William.

A National Trust spokesperson for the charity said: "We are sorry to hear of the issues relating to flooding at Old Court.

"Chad Brook, and the belt of trees surrounding it fall outside the ownership and care of the National Trust."

Meanwhile, Amy Hyde-Parker, whose family holds the lease to Melford Hall, said they would not comment on the issue. 

Parish councillor John Nunn, who also sits on Babergh District Council, said: "I am not pointing the finger at anyone in particular, but we need to get to the bottom of who is responsible and who is going to get it fixed." 

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson confirmed that the Chad Brook itself is a main river and is therefore the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “With regard to maintenance, our role is to manage flood risk from main river watercourses and the sea.

"Whilst we do have powers to maintain “main river” watercourses such as Chad Brook, these powers are discretionary, a permissive power in nature, meaning we are not generally under any obligation to maintain watercourses. This is because the primary responsibility always sits with the riparian owner.

"We must focus our resources where they are most needed and spend public money responsibly by investing in those activities that contribute most to reducing flood risk.

"Therefore, we are increasingly reliant on the cooperation of landowners to undertake their riparian responsibilities.

"We do not currently undertake routine maintenance in this area of Chad Brook. However, Suffolk County Council are leading on the Section 19 Flood Investigation for Long Melford, and we will review our maintenance based on the findings of this investigation. 

"We welcome any intelligence that members of public can provide on locations of channel blockages. This information can be provided by calling our Freephone 24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60."