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'Demolish our homes' plead Sandhurst residents desperate to escape Gloucestershire flooding misery

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

  • Lynn Woodman, Karen Powell, Rosemarie Bowden, Maureen Powell and Ben Bowden, from Sandhurst Lane, are living in the New County Hotel

Comments (12)

EVACUATED families from flooded Sandhurst Lane are calling for their own homes to be demolished to save them the continued misery of seeing everything they have worked for engulfed in water.

Families have had to leave their homes and seek temporary shelter after the devastating floods arrived last week.

Some fear their homes could now be worthless after their fourth flooding since 2000.

Waters are around two feet deep in some houses. Sewage flushed out of septic tanks and from the River Severn has left behind a toxic legacy that will be felt for months.

Lynn Woodman, who works at Kingsholm Primary School, is staying at the New County Hotel until she can find some temporary accommodation.

“It is unliveable at the moment,” she said. “Water has come into all our homes. I’ve lived there all my life. I’m 47 and it is my parents’ house. We had 48 inches in 2007 and it is not far off that. You will have a hard job to protect our houses. We get surrounded and can’t get out. It has been going on since Christmas. We can’t get to work and there is raw sewage in our homes. Our cars are up on higher ground, but we can’t get to them. We have no transport. We are trying to look after ourselves, but it is too hard now. We need help. No one would want to buy our houses. There should be a compulsory purchase order on them so we can move. It will only get worse, it is like a death sentence for us. We need help to move so these houses can be razed to the ground. My 14-year-old son has not been to school for three weeks. It is very unsettling.”

It is less than 12 months since Lynn has been back into her home following the 2012 floods. Rats and rubbish from uncollected bins have also washed into properties, leaving them uninhabitable for many months to come, she said.

One family has remained in the area, determined to keep watch over their neighbouring properties to help keep looters at bay.

Forced to take time off work as they have been left stranded without use of their cars, the financial nightmare has only just begun for some.

Another Sandhurst resident, Karen Powell, is desperately trying to find temporary accommodation for her 92-year-old grandmother, 70-year-old mum and two boys, one who has special needs. Karen has had to take 17 days holiday from Gloucestershire College where she works so she can keep paying the bills, but time is running out.

She said: “ My grandmother has lived there all her life, as have we. Our homes are in the lap of the gods now, at the mercy of the weather and the river.

“Insurance companies do not pay for loss of earnings. We are so angry with the MPs who have done nothing for us.

“We had to take in a van driver who got stuck and he was with us for eight hours. If we had left him in his vehicle for that time he would have died of hypothermia. Somebody will die if nothing changes.”

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  • Tree1974  |  February 20 2014, 2:58AM

    Shezza1995, how can I be 'wrong in many ways' when you have just reiterated what I said in my comment??? As I said, if flooding has become far more prevalent since these homes were bought then looking at the reasons why and sorting it out is the way forward - this may mean compulsory purchase. I think you will find that as well as a portion of the population of Gloucester feeling extreemly sorry for the situation you find yourselves in, there are others who beleive this has been an ongoing problem that stretches back further than the 60's even. Surely if the paper published these statistics people would see this is a recent problem wich would put pressure on the EA, government and local authority so they would have to do something rather than continue to brush the problem under the carpet? Sadly, words alone will never be enough to get the government to stand up to the plate - it needs to be statistics and factual evidence and the more people who have access to this the harder it is to ignore. Lastly, you don't know the boots I live in.

  • shezza1995  |  February 20 2014, 2:13AM

    @tree1974 I live in Sandhurst lane with my mum who is Lynn Woodman on the left in the picture, You are wrong in many ways and here is why, the reason why we want a compulsory disorder is because when the houses were built in the 1800's they weren't a risk to flooding at all, and when my grandmother brought the house in the 1960's again, no problem, it has only been in recent years flooding has became a problem because the river is never cleaned or dredged, nobody would want to buy the house now because it is worthless even though it is a nice property. My point which I stress is the fact that we didn't know the risks when they brought it because there were none, and as my mum said on the news last night it is soul destroying and something needs to be done and soon, we cant keep living in fear and dread for the rest of our lives, because this time we weren't prepared and as a result, we have lost everything, so try living in our boots and look into it more before commenting.

  • Tree1974  |  February 19 2014, 2:14PM

    It would be really interesting if the Citizen could publish an article outlining how many times Sandhurst has flooded in the last 100 years. If flooding has become far more prevalent since these people have bought their homes then looking at the reasons why and sorting it out is the way forward - this may mean compulsory purchase. If the area has always been more prone to flooding then they would have known the risks when they bought and shouldn't ask for compulsory purchase.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 7:50PM
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  • honslknjklyt  |  February 17 2014, 7:29PM

    @ Northglos EPC Regarding affordable housing and social housing, these tenants and right to buyers have become the new elite. I know of social housing tenants who live in houses that make people such as I think "look how the other half live". They get repairs, new kitchens, security, solar panels even in some, and lots of perks. Private tenancies get nothing, no security and living knowing the rug can be pulled from their feet with as little as 28 days notice. Often "affordable housing" does not apply to private tenants. Affordable housing should be fully available as that is the only way anyone can afford it! What is the alternative - unaffordable housing. This unaffordable housing seems to be the only option for many people or live a lifetime under the thumb of private landlords. It is very sad indeed.

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  • North Glos EPC  |  February 17 2014, 4:39PM

    honslknjklyt You say "There are more people than houses. Therefore we need more houses" "No wonder we are having to build on flood plains" Or perhaps too many people are being attracted to the area from other parts of the country, other parts of the EU or other parts of the world ? If our only option is to build on flood pains to house them we're doing them no favours at all and perhaps we could argue therefore that we're full? Of course there is a housing need, but that real need is for affordable and social housing, and there are flood free brown field sites around for that. If of course we can resist the temptation to fill every brown site with another supermarket we don't need.

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  • NibNobs  |  February 17 2014, 4:06PM

    I think the government should be made to buy the affected houses from the residents at full market value..... .......that won't cost the taxpayers much then!

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 3:12PM

    There is more to it than just building defences, water management is the core here, a system of adjustable weirs and a few replacement bridges could go a long way to helping reduce the flood risk from Worcester down past Gloucester. Reducing the height of the weirs will increase the flow dramatically and lower the river level at the same as removing silt, if this is carried out before the main body of water arrives there will be a lot more room for the water and less obstruction. There are several bridges that are causing pinch points and they also need to be replaced. A good question is what is the real height difference between the East and West channels of the Severn at Gloucester and not the depth as it's obvious that there is enough of a difference for the water to flow across the A417!

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  • SandraPee  |  February 17 2014, 2:44PM

    Spoke to MP this morning , as you do, finger's crossed something will get done ..................

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  • Lecorche  |  February 17 2014, 11:13AM

    There are many issues to confront and correct in the way we use the flood plain. The only that can help the folk who are shown here is to move them away from the river. This will apply to all who are suffering from a polluted and abused River Severn. It'll take decades to do. We need to start now by exploiting the Cotswolds.

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