Galgate flooding victim and mother of four Claire Lloyd says she is at breaking point.
Seven months after her home was left flooded under four feet of water, she is still living in temporary accommodation in Lancaster.
Claire says she is deeply unhappy with the way she has been treated by Lancaster City Council, and that the emergency accommodation she was given had “blood and excrement on the walls”, blocked drains and a leaking roof.
Lancaster City Council said it was doing all it could to help Claire rebuild her life.
Claire, whose children are aged 10, seven, six and five, recalled the ordeal on November 22 2017 when torrential rain caused floodwaters to rise in Galgate, leaving around 100 homes under water.
She said: “I went out to the shops at around 8.40pm and said to my partner Steve shut the door, the water’s coming.
By the time I got back it was up to my knees outside, and within 20 minutes it had got up to my chest - I’m 5ft 4in.
“The kids were upstairs the entire time.
“Next morning, the water had subsided, but everything was destroyed.”
Claire, who lived in Main Road, said that immediately after the flood, she managed to find accommodation in a static caravan. “Three of my friends paid for a static caravan at the Crook O’ Lune for a couple of weeks, and I asked the council whether they would pay for that accommodation, it was £180 a week. But they refused as they thought it was too much, even though there were people staying in the Travelodge at £65 per night.
“So eventually we were put in emergency accommodation on The Ridge.”
Claire said that when she arrived at the property in Patterdale Road it was far from satisfactory. There was blood and excrement on the walls, the roof was leaking, the walls were mouldy, and all the drains were blocked,” she said.
“I’ve had no money or help since then. The kids are in school now, and I will not take my kids out of school and move them again.
“Then the council told me that a house had come up in Galgate. I said I’d take it if it was above the flood level, but they initially couldn’t tell me where it was. I’ve been calling and calling but I’ve had no response.
“Then I found out that it was 53 Main Road, seven doors down from where I used to live. It was where I lost my life.”
Claire said she no longer wished to move back to Galgate, where she fears it’s only a matter of time before the floods return.
She said: “The kids are frightened about going back there, and it’s going to happen again. It worries them because in the space of one day they lost everything, they had to leave their school, their home, all their toys...
“I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and I’ve had to give up work. It feels like I’ve been lied to and ignored. It feels like I’ve done this to myself.
“It’s a nightmare and I’m at breaking point”.
Lancaster City Council said that Claire did contact them for help towards the cost of the caravan, and they advised her that she needed to submit a housing benefit claim form, but did not do so.
The council also said that there was a minor waste pipe leak and a leak in the bathroom at the property in Patterdale Road, but these were resolved in early January, and no other issues had been brought to their attention.
Coun Andrew Warriner, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and housing, said: “Last November’s floods were devastating for Ms Lloyd and the council has been doing all it can to help her rebuild her life.
“We have been able to provide extensive assistance including weekly visits from a Lancaster City Council support worker and housing in the form of a furnished three bed semi-detached property.
“Longer term the family requires four bedrooms, but this is proving difficult as this type of property is in exceptionally short supply in South Lancaster. An offer of a four bed property was made in November 2017, but this was declined as being in the wrong location.
“More recently a four bed property became available in Galgate, but this was also declined as it was located on Main Road and Ms Lloyd was reticent to move back to an area that had previously flooded.
“We have agreed that we will now look for a large three bed ‘parlour’ property, with a separate living room and dining room.
“Some larger families convert one of the ground floor rooms in to a bedroom, and this may be a suitable alternative. We will remain in weekly contact with her until we are in a position to offer her suitable alternative accommodation.”