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Anger after inconsiderate drivers ignore Longford roadblocks and make flooding worse

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

  • Van drives right through the flood water and out the otherside

  • Van drives right through the flood water and out the other side

  • Tewkesbury Road, Longford closed

  • Some homes are being evacuated in Longford following flooding

  • Residents are angry in Longford

Comments (14)

ANGRY residents say flooding has been made worse by irresponsible drivers disregarding roadblocks.

The A38 Tewkesbury Road in Longford has been closed off to traffic as some residents are in the process of evacuating their homes.

Almost a foot of flood water has taken over and the road has been blocked off, but that’s not deterred motorcyclists, drivers and cyclist trying to get through.

Police were called to the village on the outskirts of Gloucester this morning after waves caused by the traffic was making the situation in people’s homes worse.

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Emma Frattolillo has had to evacuate her family home. She said: “Absolutely this road needs to be closed. We have had people coming through on motorbikes and the waves caused are making the situation before.

“For some people it could mean the difference between their house flooding or not.

“It has caused chaos for people.”

Chairman of the parish council, Pete Gough, urged people to act more responsibly.

He said up to 12 tonnes of sand and sandbags were delivered to the parish hall. But they had not all gone to those in need.

He said: “Unfortunately people are sometimes a bit greedy and we have even had vans come along, go round and load up their van with them and drive off.

“But we can’t police it 24/7.”

Officers were directing traffic this morning to ensure motorists did not ignore the road closure as water levels rose.

But as the Citizen were there this morning Virgin Media Business van drove into the flood water and out the other side – even leaving some of the ‘road closed’ signs flattened on the floor in its wake.

Superintendent Bridget Woodhall said: "Drivers who ignore the road closure signs are creating bow waves and further flooding for residents.

"While they may get a short term gain out of it people in the area could lose a lot.

"We also have had to commit officers there to reassure people and ease the tension.

"We understand people's frustration but this is not acceptable."

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said the road was passable through the centre yesterday, but it had been closed off at 5am.

She said: “People here are going through enough and they don’t need the situation to be made worse.

“Drivers obviously think that where they have got to go is far more important than flooding someone’s home and that is disgusting.

“Some of the residents have had to leave their homes and their belongings and it is sad to think that someone else can think their journey is more important than that.”

Brian Watkins, local highways manager said: "The road was closed at 7.30am this morning because the amount of surface water on the roads made it impassable and the bow wave created by vehicles attempting to get through was entering properties.

"We would like to remind drivers to remain vigilant and not attempt to drive through floodwater as there is a chance of potential dangers beneath the surface. We will work hard to reopen road when it is safe to do so.”

Emma and husband Pete and their two children, aged 6 and 4, moved out of their home on Tuesday when they realised flooding was inevitable.

The 39-year-old said: “It is just so stressful and there is nothing we can do about it.

“We feel like we have just been waiting to flood now since November and it does have an impact on your mental health and stress levels.

“We love this house, we moved in 12 years ago, but now we just don’t want to be here. I feel like we can’t keep doing it.

“After the 2007 floods we were out of the house for nine months and just hope it won’t be that bad again.

“We have moved what furniture we can upstairs and put sandbags out, but you feel helpless.”

Susannah Collier has lived in Plock Court for 30 years and said the flooding situation is only getting worse and doesn’t believe the authorities are willing to help. She even bought banners along to the flooded areas to show her objections.

She said: “We have had no flood defences put in here and the more that are put in upstream; the worse it is getting for us.

“We have lived with this now, year in and year out and sadly it is now accepted as the norm that we will flood – but that is not acceptable.

“They have built the hospital, the Premier Inn, the Beefeater, the tennis centre and homes on what was a floodplain and we are paying the price.

“Everyone is outraged by the Somerset Levels, but we have lived with this for months on end.

“We are in dire straits and nobody wants to help.”

Longford resident of 25 years, Raj Kapoor, agreed. He added: “They have done nothing since 2007 and they have had plenty of warning, but people could not care less.

“They are all talking about the Thames and it seems the government are only concerned about the rich areas.

“It feels like we are not part of Gloucester, but not part of Tewkesbury, and so no one wants to help us.”

Richard Foulkes, manager of The Winford Hospital in Longford, said its staff car park was currently underwater, but the main building had remained flood free.

He said: “Staff have been fantastic and have found alternative areas to park and have walked in.

“Some of our patients have cancelled their appointments because of the weather, but we are running as normal.

“We are waiting with baited breathe to see what happens overnight.”

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14 comments

  • RoadWombat  |  February 14 2014, 10:07PM

    honslknjklyt - Your first paragraph is somewhat puzzling. Are you suggesting that some of the comments below yours support people ignoring the signs? If so, re-read all the comments below and provide us with a quote from any of them (in context) that even hints that the motorists contravening the signs are being victimised. Mine are a factual response to Matt's question about whether the "Road Closed" signs are enforceable or not, and Stretch88 is providing a possible reason for the van going through (and, indeed, makes it clear that he disapproves of the actions of a lorry he saw going through). I can't see one that isn't in support of your position!

  • Peter_Parker  |  February 14 2014, 3:25PM

    One problem is that the residents of roads near the roundabout - Fircroft Hayes Ft etc need access from the roundabout to their homes as it's the only route available to get in and out. The road needs to be opened at the end just for access.

    |   -19
  • Aletheia  |  February 14 2014, 2:57PM

    The comment from the Winford Hospital is laughable. Oh dear, the staff car park is flooded and they say that their staff have been wonderful? Have they considered that 99% of people do not have the luxury of a staff car park? What is so wonderful about them? They are now just having to do what most of us have to do anyway but they will only have to do it for the short term.

  • honslknjklyt  |  February 14 2014, 11:49AM

    Oh the poor vulnerable motorist who can't be expected to read signs and obey them, oh look at this poor pathetic person being victimised again as everybody is our to get the poor motorist. We need yet another motorist campaign group to help idiotic simpletons get out of their responsibilities. These idiots should be named and shamed. If we all drove responsibly and abided by signage, none of us would get parking tickets (and if we did we would accept responsibility)), there would be far less accidents and many more lives would be saved.

  • Stretch88  |  February 13 2014, 10:58PM

    I agree that going through road closed signs is wrong but that van was hardly causing a bow wave, Virgin have been working on their boxes on the corner since the start of the flooding I would think to stop the flood water affecting their equipment. There was a large lorry that went through today and caused a wave that is the problem! Hopefully the new homes don't get the go ahead!

  • RoadWombat  |  February 13 2014, 10:12PM

    In addition to the below, the council MAY have placed the signs under an Emergency Notice (which circumvents the need for notices in the newspapers etc.) but I believe they would need a separate notice for each individual road closure they intend to implement.

  • RoadWombat  |  February 13 2014, 9:59PM

    "Road Closed" signs mean just that - surely anybody ignoring them is committing a traffic offence? No - there's no offence committed per-se if you go through a "Road Closed" sign unless there is a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order in place. For that to be the case, it would need to be announced in the press and the proper procedure followed. Whehter or not the correct procedure has been followed on this occasion, I don't know. The ones put out for the flooding are probably advisory - i.e. advising you that there's a hoofing great lake of water across the road. But, of course, you'd have to be a bit of a ninny to go through!

  • Apothegm_  |  February 13 2014, 7:05PM

    Richard Foulkes quite probably said, "We are waiting with bated breath", but LauraC seems to think it should be written, "baited breathe." Tut-tut, twice over.

  • joner63  |  February 13 2014, 6:19PM

    im a taxi driver I live in Churchdowm but work in Cheltenham earlier today I had a job to kingsholme once I dropped my fare off I knew the A 38 was closed but watched 3 cars go through barriers the wrong way what is wrong with theses idiots barriers and signs are there for a reason I hope they all get fined

  • Kay_Powell  |  February 13 2014, 5:05PM

    That explains why Oxstalls Lane was chock-a-block today. I hadn't thought about it before. By the way, it's Winfield Hospital (after the previous owner of the site) not Winford Hospital.

    |   -19

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