RESIDENTS could be to blame for a road consistently flooding when heavy rain hits, council bosses have warned.

The warning comes after an elderly woman was forced to wade through ankle-deep flooding in Rowhedge Road, Colchester.

Rowhedge Road was closed in April while Anglia Water engineers carried out the work, part of which was aimed at decreasing the chances of flooding.

But after almost three months of sunshine, heavy rain returned and led to the road being badly flooded.

Now it appears the problem may lie in blocked drains behind homes in Rowhedge Road.

Hector Preston, 28, who lives in nearby Fingringhoe Road, was on the scene on Thursday as cars, buses and pedestrians struggled to navigate the flood.

He said: “Whatever they’ve done to the road certainly hasn’t worked. When the rain came it was horrific.

“I was there because I’d been on the bus and the driver was saying: ‘I can’t stop here.’

“Once I was off, it was getting even worse so I went to Old Heath Garage to get some shelter.

“When I came back, there was an elderly lady using a zimmer frame there trying to cross the road but there was just no way she could do it.

“Then I saw a really nice man pick up her frame and get it across the road but the only way the woman could get across was by wading through the water which was up to her ankles. It was terrible.”

He added: “The road was closed for a long time and it caused a lot of disruption for people going to and from Rowhedge so you would have hoped whatever issue there was would have been fixed but obviously not.”

Lee Scordis, Colchester councillor for Old Heath and the Hythe, added: “This is an issue which just isn’t going away and at the moment the reality is if it rains particularly hard, the road is going to flood and there is very little which can be done about it.”

An Essex Highways spokesperson, said: “Road drains and Anglian Water’s drains have been checked and are clear and working properly.

“There is a ditch at one point away from the road behind the houses which we believe has become filled, which is causing part of the problem in that water from the road drains cannot run off properly.

"It may be that this ditch has been inadvertently filled with garden waste without people realising it is vital drainage to take water away from the road drains.

"If local residents can keep the ditch clear, then this might greatly help the problem.”