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Flooded families are counting the costs

PUBLISHED: 13:43 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:15 05 July 2010

COUNTING the costs of a torrential downpour and gale-force winds which lashed Lowestoft, residents were this week coming to terms with the aftermath.

After chaos reigned across town following the storms last Friday night, there were major flooding problems, a dramatic sea rescue and reports of a mini-tornado hitting the Birds Eye factory in Whapload Road.

COUNTING the costs of a torrential downpour and gale-force winds which lashed Lowestoft, residents were this week coming to terms with the aftermath.

After chaos reigned across town following the storms last Friday night, there were major flooding problems, a dramatic sea rescue and reports of a mini-tornado hitting the Birds Eye factory in Whapload Road.

A 29-year-old pregnant mum this week said she and her family may be forced to move house unless water officials take action to tackle flooding that has hit her street once more.

Sewage flooded the garage of Mary Ritchie, causing damage estimated at £10,000 in Seavert Close, Carlton Colville, and narrowly avoided getting into her home.

Eight residents were also unable to leave their homes by car because of road damage caused by the flooding.

On Saturday morning, part of the close was still covered in sewage - and this comes more than six years after the brickweave road suffered similar flooding problems because of heavy rain permeating its surface.

Calling on Anglian Water to carry out vital work, she said: “I just can't cope with this any more. This needs to be sorted out because the pipes can't cope with the rain. We will just have to resign ourselves to the fact that we will be flooded every time there is heavy rain.”

Furniture, prams and DJ equipment belonging to her husband were among treasured items wrecked by the flooding.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said staff were required to deal with a number of call-outs on Friday and they had to prioritise those people who were at a higher risk of flooding in their homes.

“It was unfortunate we were unable to give all the attention we would have liked,” she added.

The spokesman said a manager would visit Mrs Ritchie to discuss the flooding problems in more detail and Waveney MP Bob Blizzard is planning a visit on September 25 with representatives from Suffolk County Council Highways and Anglian Water.

Elsewhere, across town there was a similar trail of devastation.

Suffolk police press officer Anne-Marie Breach said: “On Friday night we had calls reporting floods in Denmark Road, Blyford Road, Gorleston Road, Oulton Road, Long Road, London Road South and Millennium Way, which were all affected. We then alerted Anglian Water and Waveney District Council who dealt with these problems.”

In Long Road some residents lost electrical power due to the water entering under the houses and affecting cables that run underground.

Long Road resident, Jacqui Jones, said that the same portion of the road was flooded again on Friday - almost two years to the day that the last flood had swept through their area.

“Myself and my neighbour always suffer as the water comes right up to our steps, covering our car wheels and forcing us to move any cars out on the road itself,” she said. “But cars continued to travel up and down the road with some sending waves of water lapping up to our doors, with no consideration to the fact that we actually live in these houses.

“The flood was almost lake size this time, and the water was so deep that a neighbour took his canoe out and sailed down the road in it, proving just how deep it was.”

Police held back traffic until the water started to subside and then allowed cars to pass slowly but for Mrs Jones this “is a regular occurrence” for her and other residents.

“Each time we have these flash downpours it all relates to the fact that the drains we have in place cannot cope with all the surrounding area. Our position is the lowest area in Long Road where the water dips and lays - but we've been told that no further updates will be made on the drains for our part of the road as its too expensive,” she claims.

Mr Blizzard, this week called for urgent action by Anglian Water, following severe flooding at Hadleigh Drive, as residents have similarly suffered whenever there is heavy rainfall for over 10 years.

The current drainage system, built to service a much smaller number of properties, can't cope with the weight of water when it rains, particularly that running down from Monckton Avenue and Kesgrave Drive - and on Friday the water reached as far as some residents' garages.

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