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Shropshire flooding: Ironbridge remains under 'danger to life' flood warning as more rain expected

By Rory Smith | Ironbridge | Environment | Published: | Last Updated:

A 'danger to life' warning remains in place for Ironbridge with further rain expected as the river levels continue to drop.

Flooding in Ironbridge

Telford & Wrekin Council says it expects the barriers to remain in place 'for a number of days' and has warned people to stay away from the area.

Around 40 homes and buildings were evacuated in Ironbridge yesterday where rising river levels cracked the road surface.

WATCH: Footage shows flooded Severn in Ironbridge

Flooding in Ironbridge

The Severn peaked at 6.52m on Tuesday evening after 470 tons of water was rushing through Ironbridge every second.

The river was back down to 5.9m by 5pm on Wednesday but a severe flooding warning was still in place.

The warning from the Government's Flood Information Service said on Wednesday evening: "A severe flood warning remains in force.

Aerial photos show the scene in Ironbridge on Tuesday. Photo: @Fatheadchris

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Flooding in Ironbridge on Wednesday

"Due to current river levels and ground conditions there remains the potential for the Ironbridge barrier to become ineffective.

"River levels have peaked at the Buildwas river gauge at 6.52m on Tuesday evening. Consequently flooding of property and roads adjacent to the Wharfage, Ironbridge is ongoing.

"Further rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours. We expect river levels to remain high for several days.

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"We are closely monitoring the situation and staff remain on site managing the barriers on The Wharfage.

"We continue to liaise with emergency services. Please call 999 if in immediate danger. Please avoid contact with flood water.

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Around 40 properties were evacuated from Ironbridge on Tuesday morning but the occupants of 13 properties chose to remain and were warned by police that they risked being cut off.

Residents were told to move possessions and valuables to safety and have a bag with vital items ready .

Telford & Wrekin Council this morning said they expect flood barriers to remain in place for a number of days.

It has also said that Dale Road, The Wharfage, The Lloyds and Lloyd’s Head all remained closed.

A Telford & Wrekin Council statement said: "With more rain forecast this week, we are being continually updated by the Environment Agency on the effect this will have on the rate of decline on the river level. As a result, we expect flood barriers to remain in place for a number of days.

Flooding in Ironbridge on Wednesday
Flooding at the former Ironbridge Power Station site at 7.30am this morning. Pic: Richard Ware

"A total of 40 businesses and residential properties were visited yesterday and occupants were advised to leave. The occupants of 13 properties chose to spend the night at home, the residents of six properties took up the offer of overnight accommodation in the nearby Valley Hotel, the remainder stayed with friends and family. Our officers will be contacting them all today to check on their welfare.

"Today, Cleo’s Café in Ironbridge will again act as rest centre for residents evacuated from their homes and for staff working in the area.

"Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting properties in Ladywood and Jackfield offering further advice and assistance.

"We are asking people to stay away from the area as river levels are still rising and roads are closed. Help may be needed with the aftermath, but not for the moment."

Flooding in Ironbridge
Flooding in Ironbridge

Telford & Wrekin Council workers went door-to-door along the Wharfage on Tuesday morning waking residents and preparing to take them to a rest centre at Cleo's Cafe on High Street.

The authority said water pressure from the river against the flood barriers was causing the surface of the road alongside the river to crack.

Police closed off High Street but Cleo's Bar in the town opened its doors to those who had been evacuated, offering free tea and coffee.

Owner Michael Perks, 64, said: “We are normally closed on Tuesdays but we got a call at 11pm last night from someone at the council.

“We were quite happy to help, you have to look after the community. We’ve had a few people in, some have lost their electricity. We’ve been putting on teas and coffees.”

Ironbridge Gorge museums have stayed open.

Flooding in Ironbridge
Flooding in Ironbridge

People react to the flooding chaos:

Graham Hickman, 70, has lived on the corner of High Street since 1950 and said the river was the highest it had been in more than 50 years on Tuesday.

The former Coalbrookdale Foundry worker said: "This is the worst I've seen the flooding in a very long time.

"I've seen the Gorge change a lot over the years, going from an industry town to a tourist town which you can't complain about, but I've never heard about the Wharfage cracking before, it's getting a bit worrying.

"This is on a par with flooding we had in 2000. The only time I remember it being worse was during severe floods in 1963.

"The water covered half of the bars on the Ironbridge, which it isn't far off doing now."

With his lower garden backing onto the river, Mr Hickman said he hopes his fish are the only ones at risk.

"We've had so much rain lately, there isn't a lot you can do but everybody that lives down here is trying their best.

"It floods my garden a bit so my goldfish in the pond might be making a bid for freedom soon."

Flooding in Ironbridge

Louise Clayton-Kastenholz, 55, of New Road, near The Wharfage, said: “I’m quite a bit safer as we are higher up.

“I’m concerned for some of the neighbours though.

“I work as an accountant in Shrewsbury and haven’t been able to get to work because the buses are not running.”

Flooding in Ironbridge

Retired headteacher Rod Sheppard, 74, who also lives in New Road, said he had never seen the river level so high.

He said: “I feel very sad for the people who have been flooded and have had to move out and had their belongings destroyed.

“They have never evacuated anyone along The Wharfage before. I expect it will damage The Wharfage as well.”

Flooding in Ironbridge

Liz Cooper, 59, lives in Wrekin View, Madeley, but often goes into Ironbridge.

She said: “It’s shocking, it’s beyond our control. Apparently it’s the worst it’s been for 30 years. People are quite shocked and upset.

“There’s some beautiful properties and you can see the water up to the windows with some of them. You feel so sorry for them.”

Flooding in Ironbridge

Becki Sadler had been staying with family in a rented holiday let in Dale End, Coalbrookdale, when it was flooded with 5ft of water on Sunday morning.

The 44-year-old, of Bournville, Birmingham, said: “We came away for my other half’s 50th birthday and my dad’s 70th.

“We booked it last year as a surprise.

“We got there Friday night and at 2am on Sunday there was 5ft of water in the cottage. It’s ruined clothes, iPads, a phone, the children’s school bags and uniforms.

“We took two cars between us and they’ve been in the flood, the insurance is saying it’s an act of god so we can’t claim.

“We ordered £180 worth of food so we lost all of that.

“We weren’t given any warning that it was on a flood plain.

“We were offered alternative accommodation but it was 50 miles away and we had no cars.”

The group spent two nights at The Tontine Hotel before going home yesterday(tue).

Becki, who is mum to Jack, 10, and Harriet, eight, added: “All the residents have been great.

“They have washed our coats, given us tea and coffee and provided toiletries.

“The community spirit has been fantastic.”

Flooding in Ironbridge

Throughout Tuesday spectators and tourists took to the Ironbridge to watch the gushing water pass by just metres away from High Street businesses.

Edward Davies, 56, from Madeley in Telford, said he was "astounded" when he first laid eyes on the river this morning.

He said: "I've got some time off work with my kids for half term and we knew the river levels were getting high here so we thought we'd come and have a look.

"I'd seen photos of it but I was astounded to see how close it is to shops and businesses.

"Some houses have already been washed out of course which is a great shame.

"The main thing is the road I suppose. When the flooding is gone the last thing you want is more closures because the state of the road has deteriorated."

Emma Jones, 35, from Ludlow, said: "The clear up is still being done in Ludlow and I was on my way to Telford so I thought I'd stop here.

"It's quite a sight. I haven't been to Ironbridge for a couple of years and I doubt I'll see it like this for a couple more."

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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