Lancaster residents take matters into own hands to help stop flooding

Residents living in a Lancaster street which flooded for the second time in three years took matters into their own hands to clear the overflowing beck to help stem the water.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 7:00 am
This picture by Coun Erica Lewis shows the extent of the flooding in Lentworth Drive.

The beck opposite the affected properties in Lentworth Drive on Hala was blocked by branches and debris from overhanging trees, which - along with the heavy rain overnight on Tuesday - caused the road to flood directly into the path of several homes.

Ben Horobin, whose sister-in-law was among those affected, said he helped another resident to clear the beck of branches.

"The firemen told us that the beck was blocked and was diverting all the water to the houses," he said. "Along with one of the residents, I went and cleared it.

Lancaster Area Search and Rescue posted photos online of their team assisting at the scene.

"It was just building up and building up and was on the cusp of flowing into even more houses.

"It was deep and moving very fast and at one point [the resident] fell in and we struggled to get him out.

"But once we had cleared all the branches out of the way, the water started flowing down the beck again.

"This should never have happened, it's caused by bad management."

This picture by Coun Erica Lewis shows the extent of the flooding in Lentworth Drive.

Elderly residents living in sheltered accommodation were among around 50 people who had to be evacuated after severe flooding in Lentworth Drive on Wednesday morning.

Residents from two blocks of sheltered housing and 10 houses were taken to St Paul’s Parish Hall in Scotforth Road to be looked after until they could either return home or be temporarily rehoused.

Fire crews, including two swift water rescue teams and a high volume pump, were called to the scene in a bid to reduce the water levels, along with Lancaster Area Search and Rescue.

They worked alongside Lancashire Constabulary, Lancaster City Council, the Environment Agency and the Great Places Housing Group to assist people involved in the localised flooding.

Lancaster Area Search and Rescue posted photos online of their team assisting at the scene.

No injuries were reported at the incident.

The Environment Agency put two flood warnings in place for the Burrow Beck area, and a number of roads were closed.

Lentworth Drive was among several areas of south Lancaster to flood in November 2017, and in November last year we reported how residents and flood action groups had expressed “concern and alarm” over the prospect of hundreds of planned new homes.

Lancaster City Council leader Erica Lewis said on Wednesday: "This was a really difficult day for these residents. They flooded in 2017 and they flooded this morning. They need help from the government for property level defences and south Lancaster more broadly needs the government to fund the flood risk mitigation schemes the Environment Agency has identified.

Lancaster Area Search and Rescue posted photos online of their team assisting at the scene.

"The failure to fund these measures has a real impact on residents health and well-being. The climate emergency means flooding is on the increase and action must be taken."

Green councillor Gina Dowding also expressed her concern, saying: "Causes will need to be investigated properly and analytically. The local plan, passed last week, focuses on massive new developments in south Lancaster. I raised concerns about the plans to concrete over nearly all the land between the university and Galgate."

And Lancaster MP Cat Smith said: “It’s been devastating for those affected by the flooding on Lentworth Drive, some of whom are flooded for the second time in three years.

"I want to praise the efforts of the emergency services who were on the scene straight away, as well as the speedy response from local councils both Lancaster City Council and the county council.

"Questions now need to be asked about what went wrong to cause this incident. When we have those answers measures must be put in place to protect this close knit community and if we need to secure more funds from Government to make that happen I will continue to make the case.”

Any resident needing help removing water damaged goods should call the city council on 01524 582000.