After the deluge people and businesses once again deal with the aftermath of east Cleveland's flash floods (From The Northern Echo)
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After the deluge people and businesses once again deal with the aftermath of east Cleveland's flash floods
PULLING THE PLUG: The clean-up starts in Saltburn, east Cleveland, after parts of the town were devastated by flooding
After flash flooding brought devastation to parts of the region on Friday evening, Chris Webber visited some of those affected to find a community determined to get back on its feet
AFTER flash flooding brought devastation to parts of the region on Friday evening, Chris Webber visited some of those affected to find out how they are coping.
THERE was frustration and anger expressed by residents once again forced to leave their homes at the weekend.
About 60 homes around the St Joseph’s court area of Redcar had to be abandoned on Friday night as flash floods meant about 3ft of water poured inside.
That was despite a £3m investment in new tanks and pipes installed by Northumbrian Water as part of the flood defence system just last year.
The area has suffered from flooding for decades and many had to leave their homes just a few years ago.
But residents have said new house building nearby has made the problem worse in recent times. Some people have persuaded Northumbrian Water to pay for flood protection barriers, but most are still without special protection.
Adrian Bramwell, 50, of St Joseph’s Court, explained last time there were floods his family had to leave their home for three months. That time they had not been able to get contents insurance and was forced to rely on friends and family for help getting a fridge and other equipment. Mr Bramwell said he had neighbours who were still not unable to secure insurance.
The truck-driver, who has chalked to a line on the house to show how high the water invaded the house, explained that now only his wife, Maria, and half-blind dog live in the property.
Taking a break from pulling up the carpets to prevent them from smelling out the home, he said: “I put bin bags full of clothes by the door and big, heavy steel wheels to hold them down, but the sheer force of the water knocked them away.
"We could actually feel the floor moving from the water coming underneath. I’m just relieved we have insurance this time. We had a letter from Northumbrian Water saying we were no longer a flood risk about two years ago, which just turned out not to be true.”
Some of the most dramatic pictures of showing the scale and force of the deluge came from Saltburn where roads and a seafront car park were damaged and cars were in danger of being swept away.
A woman and child walk past debris left trapped against a footbridge by the flood water in Saltburn
A barmaid at the Ship Inn, right by the seafront, said water had come in to the bottom bar and toilets and staff had stayed up all night on Friday to get the place open for business.
She said: “It’s the talk of the town, and we’ve had people in saying how bad it was. So many roads were closed, people couldn’t really get out.
"The force of the water coming off the road was unbelievable. It’s quite frightening just how quickly it can happen.”
Craig Wesson at Kirkleatham Owl Centre, in Kirkleatham, near Redcar, said four birds, a burrowing owl, ibis, kookaburra and seriema, had been killed in what was the first time the centre had been flooded in its 23-year history.
Drivers struggle to negotiate the flood water on Saturday
The water had come in such force it had moved a railway sleeper across a field that had taken three people to move just days before and brought down fences. About 3ft of water poured in but was gone just half an hour later.
He said: “We’re all volunteers here, and every one of our team, about 18 people, have come in to clean up and help our birds, two of which are in shock after being really knocked about in the water.”
A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said an investigation would be launched to find out if the flood defences at St Joseph’s Court, Redcar, were working properly. The company has spent £150m to improve flood defences across the North-East in recent years.
Landlord Ronnie Scott begins the clean-up at the Ship Inn, on Saltburn seafront
“We appreciate how distressing and devastating flooding is and Northumbrian Water is one of a number of agencies that is doing all it can to protect homes.”
He added that the flooding would have been worse without the defences but the scale of the downpour was very serious.
Damage to paving at Saltburn caused by the flood water
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