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More rain on the way but £45milllion flood defences are holding up around Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 16, 2014

Army troops help get supplies to stranded Sandhurst residents

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STUNNING aerial photographs of Gloucester have revealed the full extent of the devastation caused by the wettest winter on record.

Brief respite from the relentless downpours allowed emergency services and vulnerable residents to draw breath yesterday - but more pain could be on its way today and later this week.

Weeks of rain has fallen onto saturated ground, giving the county’s £45million flood alleviation work a tough examination.

New defences protecting the Walham Power Station have done their job. And further flood safeguard schemes at Horsebere Brook have also coped well, protecting many homes from disaster.

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Some homes have escaped unscathed but others in villages like Sandhurst have been flooded out, forcing residents to evacuate.

More military boots have been seen on the ground this week than at any other time in half a century as the army has been called in to help. Troops have been a welcome sight in Alney Island as sandbags and polythene sheeting has been laid out. Soldiers from Wiltshire-based 3rd (UK) Division under the command of 43 (Wessex) Brigade spent two days in the county preparing 20,000 sandbags for residents in Tewkesbury and Gloucester. But the help came too late for some.

Delivery drivers in Sandhurst have been stranded as vehicles broke down in standing water.

Ben Bowden, an electrician, who lives in Sandhurst, said the road should be blocked off during flooding.

He said: “The lane should be closed by a big gate as soon as there is a flood threat as vehicles are getting stuck.

“A John Lewis van was stuck there for hours in the water. There has also been a UPS van and a Tesco delivery van that have got stuck in the water. They drive through and then panic, it must be terrifying for them as the water just gets deeper along the lane the further they go.

“Vehicles are continuing to drive through the water and that is pushing it into our homes because of the bow waves.

“We had no information to say it was not safe for us to be there, so we just left.

“We feel totally on our own, almost forgotten in Sandhurst. We only get help when we have called the fire service.”

Families worst hit by the floods in Sandhurst have called for crisis talks with the county council and emergency services to ensure they get better protection in future. An even bigger spring tide is expected along the River Severn next month.

Boats have been tending to residents and the Environment Agency continues to help residents on Alney Island with several flood alleviation pumps currently in place.

An access road leading to Hempsted recycling centre was shut on Sunday, with motorists being turned around and sent back.

A worker there explained the site itself was not flooded, but the road has a ditch next to it hidden by flood water and posed a danger to drivers.

A £50,000 flood relief grant from the county council is helping the worst hit families get back on their feet.

It is offering up to £1,000 per flooded property to help replace damaged furniture and essentials or to help with the most immediate needs.

Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood, said: “We’re doing as much as we can out on the ground to help people who are affected by the flooding but we know there are people whose homes or properties have been damaged.

“I’m very proud of how everyone is working together and doing their best to protect people from the rising flood waters, minimising the disruption it causes.

“All of this hard work is making a real difference and I'd like to thank them for all for their dedication and commitment – it’s making a huge difference.”

Plock Court is now more akin to an inland sea, but a dry 24 hours has only offered temporary respite.

More rain is on its way today, before a more settled spell of drier weather for tomorrow and Wednesday.

A second potential flashpoint of the week could land on Thursday, with more heavy rain expected.

Public Health England is reminding people to take care if they must go into flood water. There could be hidden dangers like sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollution.

They also urge good ventilation if using portable indoor heating appliances to dry out indoor spaces.

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  • zinboya  |  February 17 2014, 9:45PM

    Wonder how many of these troops will be kick in the teeth next year and made redundant.????

    |   -1
  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 3:24PM

    How many "stunning" pictures of Gloucester???????????

    |   1