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Counting the cost of Gloucestershire's floods

By citizenmike  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

Well prepared: Alma and Shaun O'Boyle at their Haw Bridge home

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PICKING up the pieces after weeks of flooding is no easy task for Gloucestershire residents who saw water come into their homes.

For families like Tirley couple Shaun and Alma O’Boyle, whose Haw Bridge home was flooded in January, it was a case of cleaning down everything and drying out the floors and furniture.

During the height of the floods they pumped some 532,000 litres of water out of their home every day. Mr O’Boyle, who has lived at the property for 17 years, said: “Since the 2007 floods we have installed tiled floors and raised electrical points higher up the walls. We’ve also not put bottom panels on our kitchen units.”

The couple even wrapped material around the legs of their kitchen table in the hope that it would reduce the chance of the legs rotting in the water.

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But their efforts at keeping things under control will only go so far as the flood bank outside their home has had no maintenance work since it was installed in the 1960s.

Flood damage to Gloucestershire’s infrastructure has been estimated to be up to £15million.

Now a bid is being made to a special Government fund by Gloucestershire County Council to recoup the expected cost of between £7million and £15million of repairing damage, primarily from landslips.

There were 11 major landslips in the county including three on the A46 route.

Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood, said: “The wet weather has caused massive damage to our road network. That isn’t just the big damage caused by landslips, or by flooded roads. Very wet weather is actually more damaging to roads than frost, causing potholes and defects.

“We’re looking for help to address as many of these issues as possible. We’re hopeful of a positive response from the Government.”

A claim was submitted on February 19 to the Severe Weather Recovery Scheme run by the Government although some of the landslip damage is still being investigated. Further studies need to be carried out on the ground to understand the extent of the repair work. Until they are complete, council bosses cannot give an exact cost for any proposed engineering solution.

The county’s waterways were also badly affected. The Canal and River Trust has launched an appeal for donations to help with repairs along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Daniel Charles, from the trust, said: “As water recedes we are counting the cost of damage to towpaths, bridge supports and lock gates along parts of some canals. In Gloucestershire structures along the River Severn remain underwater and the extent of the damage cannot yet be assessed.”

But there was praise for new flood defences built by Severn Trent Water at the Mythe Water Treatment Works at Tewkesbury.

Gloucester city councillor Sebastian Fields (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) said: “The work that Severn Trent have carried out since 2007 has done what it was intended to do.

“But I am also very much into animal welfare and we have seen incidents all over the country of horses become stranded in flood waters because they are being tethered illegally. This is something we have seen in Sandhurst Lane previously but thankfully this wasn’t the case recently.”

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  • SandraPee  |  March 18 2014, 9:16AM

    Lessons must be learnt and no new homes must be built on or near the flood plain . We must have a return to dredging and keeping ditches/culverts clear to minimise future flooding in vulnerable areas .

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  • smoothie  |  March 17 2014, 10:01PM

    i feel so sorry for all the people who got flooded but its all down to money yet again the council fat cats find a bit of green land and a house got to go up on its so sad what is this world coming to... Its a wonder they havent built on Gloucester park that floods ....

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  • JemmyWood  |  March 17 2014, 7:23PM

    All very laudable North Glos EPC, but everytime they do try and build houses away from the floodplain, the Cheltenham and Stroud NIMBYS come out in force objecting. I agree that floodplain should be left for floodplain and new houses need to be built in areas that don't flood... Now where could that be? Mmmmmm Minchinhampton... Loads of space up there, Stan Waddington could do with the company. Also.... Mmmm....Slad valley, Cheltenham... Really anywhere Gloucestershires NIMBYS reside.

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  • North Glos EPC  |  March 17 2014, 6:06PM

    Hope things work out for all the victims of the recent floods, and I hope everything possible is done to protect these existing properties in the future. because of course it will happen again. I also hope planners realize building more houses in flood plain Green Belt which will make future flood events worse and create yet more victims is not the way forward. In short I hope common sense wins for everyone's sake.

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