The huge scale of damage caused to properties during last week’s flash flooding has been confirmed. Latest figures shared by Devon County Council (DCC) state that initial investigations have found more than 100 properties in Devon suffered internal flooding.
Anita Merritt www.devonlive.com
For many residents, the misery of the damage caused remains ongoing prompting the council to host drop-in session next week to help those affected by the flooding. Parts of East Devon suffered some of the county’s worst flooding during heavy rainfall on Tuesday, May 5.
Newton Poppleford was the hardest hit by the flash floods with 55 properties affected. Properties were also flooded in a number of other areas including Tipton St John, Colaton Raleigh, Metcombe, Venn Ottery and Exeter.
Although a major clear up operation has taken place, temporary traffic lights remain on two sections of the A3052 at either end of Newton Poppleford. These are on Four Elms Hill, due to a collapse of the road, and on Exeter Road, Newton Poppleford, due to edge subsidence and a dangerous private wall.
DCC, the Environment Agency and East Devon District Council are working in partnership to assess the scale of the damage caused by the flash flooding event. The agencies will all be in attendance at the drop-in session taking place on Tuesday, May 23, at Newton Poppleford Pavilion from 3pm to 7pm.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for Highway Management, said: “I would encourage everyone affected by these flash floods to attend this drop-in session and help provide us with the insight on how events unfolded. We always work closely with other agencies and authorities to hold these sessions and they have always proven to be an effective way of gaining information about flood events.
“It’s vitally important that the local community helps us to understand how they’ve been impacted to see what we can possibly do to reduce their flood risk in future.”
Matt Blythe, East Devon District Council’s assistant director for Environmental Health and Climate Change, added: “Since the extreme weather, staff from East Devon District Council have been supporting those who have been impacted by these extreme weather events. Our team will be present to help with any housing issues or those who may require support from our financial resilience officers.”
Jon Snowden, recovery manager for the Environment Agency, added: “We feel for those who have been flooded; the impact on people and property can be devastating. As the focus now turns to recovery, we will support communities and look at all options to reduce the risk and impact of further flooding.
“It’s an opportunity to ‘build back better’ and ensure any repairs do not encroach further into vital flood storage areas. Please come along to the public-drop in session to discuss how you can minimise your flood risk and further protect your property.”
Earlier this week, DevonLive reported how communities have rallied together in the wake of heavy floods which wreaked havoc on homes, businesses and a school in East Devon. It has prompted calls to improve the area’s flood defences.
The sheer power of the water during the flash floods caused significant damage to people’s homes. Newton Poppleford local Hilary Pinfold said she felt “helpless” as she watched water gush through her garden and into her home, knocking over a wall and a fridge and even moving their car.
She said: “We were just shocked because we just felt helpless because we didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t get our heads round the volume of water and how powerful it was.
“It had the power to move a car, it’s moved my husband’s car in the garage, it’s turned over a fridge-freezer, it’s knocked down two walls in the garage that have just collapsed.
“I just heard my neighbour shouting at one point ‘your outhouse is going’ and the outhouse just collapsed. We’re in a bit of a mess.
“We’ve got to have the floors replaced because we don’t know if water’s gone under the house. We’ve lost a hell of a lot of stuff as well.”
She described the community effort to help those affected as “absolutely brilliant” as people came together to clean up the village. Local pub The Cannon Inn on Newton Poppleford High Street even jumped in to act as a temporary fire station.
Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said earlier this week he has spoken to residents as well as school leaders at Tipton St John Primary School who fear that this could happen again. He says he has called on the Environment Agency, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to address a range of issues including blocked drains and damaged road surfaces.
Mr Jupp said: “I want to put on record my huge thanks to the staff from local councils and various organisations, as well as selfless residents and volunteers, who have been supporting those impacted by the terrible flash floods which occurred last week. It was heart-breaking to see the damage and I will do what I can to help.
“With over 60 homes flooded and Tipton St John Primary School severely damaged, I am pursuing a comprehensive multi-agency response to provide support and a plan for the future. That is what residents deserve.”
Anyone who would like more information should email firstname.lastname@example.org For other useful contact details and answers to FAQs visit East Devon District Council’s webpages.