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'Your safety, home and possessions are at risk. Act now' - Emergency evacuations as flood barriers appear to buckle at Ironbridge

By Charlotte Bentley | Ironbridge | Environment | Published: | Last Updated:

Flood barriers have been breached at Ironbridge and appear to be 'buckling' beneath the pressure.

Flooding in Shrewsbury

West Mercia Police is currently carrying out an immediate evacuation in Ironbridge, with all but two properties evacuated from behind the barriers.

Police Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said there was about 2m of water on the wrong side of the barrier, while in some areas the barriers appear to be buckling.

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, meanwhile, said 'it has significantly increased in terms of its dangerousness'. He said it seemed inevitable that the barriers would give way.

"The barriers are becoming overwhelmed by the pure volume of water in the River Severn and the prolonged pressure they're under," he said.

"They're shunting backwards quite significantly.

"We're performing an emergency evacuation of all properties, residences and people from outside the Ironbridge Gorge area.

"Please do not come to Ironbridge. People are being asked to leave their homes and businesses.

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"This is a developing situation but it has significantly increased in terms of its dangerousness."

The Environment Agency said: "The flood barriers at The River Severn at the Wharfage, Ironbridge have been compromised and cannot prevent flooding of properties.

"Your safety, home and possessions are at risk. Act now."

Chief Superintendent Tom Harding said: "There's up to 2m of water on the wrong side of the barrier so we've ordered an emergency evacuation.

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"I've been out myself and spoken to residents, the teams are out speaking to them.

"Virtually everyone who had chosen to remain over the last few days has now left on the basis of the new information we've given them around our concerns for the barrier.

"We're here now, there's a large number of partners from fire, the Environment Agency, highways, and of course the police. We will remain here to support the public, being highly visible.

"We are waiting to see and planning for what could be the worst case scenario in terms of the barrier and that's all we can do.

"We'll provide further updates throughout the day.

"We're incredibly busy here at Ironbridge.

"A big thank you to the community again for supporting us, those residents that have now come out with us today, and all of those who are on the ground working hard to help keep other safe."

He said the barriers had started to buckle.

"We've got water that has started now to come underneath the flood barriers and in areas it appears that it's buckling," he said.

"We want to be open and transparent with the public and the residents here so that they make that informed decision.

"Spread the word and pass this on to any family or friends in the area.

"We need to make sure that they leave."

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, tweeted about the floods.

He said: "Parts of Ironbridge are under water. Many homes and businesses are flooded, and my thoughts are with residents.

"Council and emergency staff are doing a great job but they need government investment to build permanent defences."

People still in the town are asked to go to the Tontine Hotel.

Among those evacuated from the floods was little Harry.

His owner had left in the morning to visit a relative, but couldn't get back due to flooding.

So they asked Telford & Wrekin Council to help save him.

Reporters Sue Austin and Rob Smith are on the scene in Ironbridge:

It comes after barriers were forced back three meters in Ironbridge last night.

A severe flood warning remains in place for Shrewsbury today which means there is still a danger to life. All roads into the Gorge have been closed to general traffic.

Flood barriers moved three metres at Ironbridge last night but water did not breach them. The river is currently at 6.79m - slightly down from the peak of 6.8m last night.

Ironbridge flooding latest

Coalbrookdale Primary School will be closed for the rest of the week.

Marc Lidderth, of the Environment Agency, said river levels in Ironbridge had dropped slightly, but that they were still very high.

"We need people to remain vigilant and listen to advise from emergency services," he said.

See also:

Telford and Wrekin Council have asked people to be considerate to council workers after some of their team received abuse from drivers.

Chris Bainger from the Environment Agency asked people to remain flood aware in Shrewsbury after the river peaked but water levels were still exceptionally high.

Police have warned people not to ignore road closure signs in Shrewsbury and offenders have been noted.

Shropshire Council have said the town is still open for business and visitors should use the park and ride or the bus, or enter on foot.

Car parks – the following car parks are closed:

Shrewsbury

  • Frankwell – main and riverside
  • St Julian’s Friars
  • Raven Meadows multi-storey
  • Abbey Foregate
  • The Gap (off Raven Meadows)
  • NCP (Wyle Cop)
  • Premier Inn car park (off Raven Meadows)
  • Resident and season ticket holders for Frankwell Main and St Julian’s Friars car parks may park at the top section of Abbey Foregate car park until further notice.

Bridgnorth

  • Riverside car park
  • Riverside West elevated car park
  • Residents or customers with a valid resident or season permit should use Innage Lane Car Park.

Buses

Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury bus station is closed and services are terminating at temporary stops at Abbey Foregate coach park, Theatre Severn and New Park Road (Castle Foregate end), rather than the bus station.

Bus services will terminate as follows:

  • Theatre Severn – Services 11, 20. 70, 70A, 552/553, 558, Oxon P&R,
  • Abbey Foregate HGV/Coach Park – Services 1, 8, 19, 21 23, 26, 27, 435, 436, 544/546, X4, X5 & Meole Brace P&R. This is due to be reviewed.
  • New Park Road (Castle Foregate End) – Services 2, 24, 25, 64, 501, 511, 519, 576, Harlescott P&R

Road closures

Shrewsbury

  • Victoria Avenue
  • Old Coleham
  • Gravel Hill Lane
  • Sydney Avenue
  • Atcham to Cross Houses
  • Chiltern Farm Lane
  • Berwick Road
  • Longden Coleham
  • Raven Meadows
  • Roushill
  • Cressage to Eaton Constantine
  • Smithfield Road – both directions
  • Coton Hill
  • Chester Street and Cross Street
  • Atcham to Berwick Wharf
  • B4380 Emstrey Island to Atcham
  • Williams Way
  • Meadow Place
  • Coleham Head
  • English Bridge
  • Frankwell
  • Welsh Bridge*
  • Wyle Cop

*except for access for buses to Theatre Severn temporary bus termius, and residents/businesses on the Frankwell side of Welsh Bridge

  • Priory Road remains closed due to roof damage at the Quarry Swimming Centre.
  • Town Walls is closed while Cadent investigate and repair a gas leak. Barring any unforeseen circumstances they currently anticipate the works will be complete by Wednesday.
  • London Road will remain OPEN as normal until further notice. The temporary closure, for BT cable work, was due to be put back in place this week having been lifted last week.

North Shropshire

  • Colliery Road, St Martins
  • Clarke’s Lane, St Martins
  • Burma Road, Park Hall, Whittington

South Shropshire

  • B4368 Clun to Newcastle (road slip)
  • Doctors Lane, Bridgnorth
  • Riverside, Bridgnorth
  • Severnside South Bridgnorth
  • The A442 is closed between Sutton Maddock and Bandon Island

Other

  • The Gateway is expected to be closed today.
  • Shrewsbury’s three main shopping centres – Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside – will be closed again on Wednesday.
  • Shrewsbury railway station. Services will run from/to Chester and Crewe. All other lines in Shrewsbury station are closed.
  • Shrewsbury Colleges Group – Welsh and English bridge campuses are closed.
  • University Centre Shrewsbury – is due to reopen on Thursday.
  • St. Winefride’s School will be closed on Wednesday. They anticipate opening as usual on Thursday but will continue to monitor the situation

Ironbridge

All roads into the Ironbridge Gorge this morning are closed to general traffic however there is residential access.

The following roads are accessible for residents through managed entrances:

  • Tontine Hill / High Street
  • Paradise
  • Ironbridge Road
  • Madeley Road from Hill Top
  • Church Hill
  • Lincoln Hill
  • Traffic over Coalport Bridge (Woodbridge) is being manually controlled because of its vehicle weight limit.

The following roads are closed and are impassable:

  • The Wharfage
  • Buildwas Road
  • Ferry Road
  • Coalford
  • Dale End
  • The Lloyds
  • Waterloo Street
  • The Free Bridge is also closed so there is no access to Broseley from Ironbridge
  • Traffic over Coalport Bridge (Woodbridge) is being manually controlled because of its vehicle weight limit. Please avoid this route if possible. If you do need to use it, expect long delays and be patient.

Shropshire Council is preparing homes and businesses in Bridgnorth that may be affected as flood water levels continue to rise.

Tim Smith, Shropshire Council’s assistant director of commercial services, said: "Over the past week Shropshire Council has been working with Bridgnorth Town Council, the Environment Agency and other key partners to ensure the safety of residents, businesses and infrastructure.

"The safety of our people is of crucial importance to us all at Shropshire Council. We will continue to support our communities across the county, including Bridgnorth, to help them return to normal as quickly possible."

3,100 sandbags have been handed out in Bridgnorth to residents and businesses preparing for the risk of flooding, which includes 800 over the past two days. Over 10,200 have been distributed across the county.

People can access the sandbags at Bridgnorth Highways at Kier Stourbridge Road Depot (next to the salt barn) WV15 6AN, and at the corners of Doctors Lane and Mill Street, and Doctors Lane and Bandon Lane. Sandbags will be left outside for people to collect.

Bridgnorth travel information

  • The Riverside and Riverside West elevated car parks are both closed due to flooding. If residents or customers hold a valid resident or season on or off permit please use Innage Lane Car Park.
  • Doctors Lane, Riverside and Severnside South in Bridgnorth are all closed due to flooding.
  • A442 between Sutton Maddock and Bandon Island is also closed due to flooding and will remain closed until at least Friday 28 February.
  • For more information about road and car park closures across Shropshire, visit https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/02/flooding-update-tuesday-25-february-6-30pm/

In preparation for flooding, you are advised to:

  • Raise furniture off the floor and take valuables upstairs
  • Pack an overnight bag with essentials
  • Register for the flood alerts
  • Use the Flood Information Service and council website to stay up to date with the situation.
Charlotte Bentley

By Charlotte Bentley
Community Reporter - @CharlotteB_Star

Community Reporter at the Shropshire Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Shropshire and Mid Wales. Contact me at charlotte.bentley@shropshirestar.co.uk.

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