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Flooding misery for Chalford residents

By RupertJ  |  Posted: November 26, 2012

  • Chalford flooding - Malcolm and Jackie Hunt outside their home

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When Malcolm and Jackie Hunt built their house 30 years ago, next to the small river in Chalford, they accounted for the previous flooding high water record from 1940.

This week’s flood waters were lapping around the edge of the Hunt’s garage but never made it into their home.

Still, the fact that they were still higher than those previous record levels is testament to how severe this flooding has been.

And the impact on neighbouring properties has been even greater.

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To either side of the Hunts’ home, older cottages which were built alongside the river have seen waters breaching the sandbags and flooding downstairs areas.

The river itself – usually only a couple of metres wide – has been turned into a wide, fastflowing lake which has spilled over onto footpaths now covered in over a foot of water.

And even though the waters are now subsiding, the pumps are still humming and some residents are nervously watching weather forecasts for the threat of more rain.

Still, the people of Chalford are confident that with the support of the community they will be able to overcome even the worst that the heavens can throw on them.

Mr Hunt, a chartered surveyor aged 56, lives with Jackie, 50, and their two children Kelly, 24, and Matthew, 20.

He said: “The community has been amazing – the support from people who live around here has been unbelievable and we want to thank all the neighbours.

“The kids made chocolate cookies, bacon sandwiches and all sorts. We had people helping us carry some of the 400 sandbags we needed and people were available around the clock to help us out.

“There’s more rain to come but we are hoping that the worst is past us now and that it will be dry again in a few days time.”

Chalford is no stranger to flooding. In 2000, the river burst its banks and houses were again afflicted by sodden carpets and soaked flooring.

What can make things worse in the village is that the small river, which flows along the Frome Valley, is right next to the Severn and Thames Canal.

This time, the canal breached its banks in three places. There is some concern among residents that not enough is being done to ensure that the flow of water through the canal is being maintained.

Weeds are currently clogging the canal and sandbags were not enough to keep the water at bay. As one resident said, it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. No one from the Cotswold Canals Trust, which looks after the canal, was available for comment today.

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