A FAMILY run garden centre which has been open for 26 years say trade is being hit because the persistent flooding in Crays Hill.

The Elms Nursery which is based in Harding Elms Road, has three generations of the Lever family running it, and say the drains on the road are so badly maintained grass is growing out of them and they are totally blocked by mud and silt.

Dave Lever, 70, runs the business with his son Jason and his daughter Danielle, 19, and they say everytime it rains their trade is badly hit because the flooding puts people off visiting the centre.

Dave said: “The flooding is getting to be beyond a joke and everytime we report it to the council the road ends up looking like swimming pool.

“The roads are so low lying and with the drains totally blocked it has got nowhere to go except surround the garden centre and it makes us look like we are on an island.

“The drains are filled with mud and there is even grass growing out of some of them which floods the road. The water floods our carpark and it puts people off coming in.

“We have not been as busy as we should be because we have not been able to put out all our Christmas plants out because of the flood water. We just want something done to sort this out.” I

It was not just Crays Hill hit by surface water flooding because of the heavy rain on Thursday- roads near Barleylands in Billericay were also badly hit and the subway on Broadmayne in Basildon town centre was also flooded.

David Mcpherson-Davies, chairman of Ramsden Crays Parish Council, said: “I have been speaking to Essex County Council for a couple of years and our complaints just fall on deaf ears.

“The situation is ridiculous and they really just need to be cleared out because no water can drain down them at all. It is so bad you can even see the grass growing the drains.”

A spokesman for Essex County Council added: "We are aware that recent heavy rainfall in some areas has caused some flooding issues and will investigate individual issues as and when we are alerted to them to establish why surface water is not draining away.

"We have not received any reports specifically about Hardings Elms Road however we will visit this site as a matter of urgency to try and identify the root of the problem here and will liaise with the landowner, Environment Agency and/or Anglian Water as necessary to establish who is responsible."