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Ironbridge flood barriers buckled ‘because road by river is not completely flat’

By Matthew Growcott | Ironbridge | Environment | Published:

Flood barriers in Ironbridge buckled because they had not been placed completely flat, it has been revealed.

Environment Agency spokesman Nick Green said the reason the row of barriers wasn’t flush to the ground was that it was set up following the line of the Wharfage.

He said the strength of the barrier’s metal slats was affected by the incline, adding that they work best when perfectly horizontal. Permanent barriers would be impractical, he said, because of planning issues in the Gorge, which is a World Heritage Site.

Despite water making its way to the wrong side of the barrier the river level was falling in Ironbridge today.

At 10am, levels were at 5.11m – down from a peak of 6.79m on Wednesday.

Sisters Christine and Clare Darlington, of Darlingtons of Ironbridge, said crews were working above and beyond to make sure everybody was safe. “There is going to be more flooding in the future, but it’s a very difficult one to call,” Clare said. “You have to just get on with it.

“Everybody has offered us help and support, which has been really good, and we encourage everyone to visit Shropshire. Everybody needs the support – not just the traders. Everybody needs to come together, which they have really well.

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“All the combined services have gone above and beyond to make sure the barriers are still doing their jobs. We can’t thank them enough.”

Flooding in Bridgnorth

Reaching its height in Bridgnorth at 5.2 metres on Wednesday, the River Severn could still be seen close to cars on Bridge Street yesterday as they slowed to watch the falling floodwater.

In one of the worst-affected areas, the landlord of Bassa Villa on Riverside said the venue’s cellar was under a foot of water for the first time since he had been there.

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Nick Bevon said the room had been dry at 9am on Wednesday, but within hours water was seeping through the walls.

“We have a well by the cellar door, which has come up as the river has,” he said. “It’s got to the height now where it’s coming through the walls and our cellar is under about a foot of water.”

Jackie Riley, owner of Violet’s Tea Room on Waterloo Terrace, said: “People think the town’s inaccessible.

“We’ve had quite a few calls and messages to our Facebook page from people asking if they can actually get to us.

“You feel so awful for all the homeowners and businesses in Low Town. We’ve even noticed a difference in trade.”

Kay Cartwright, owner of The Little Flower Shop in Low Town, said: “Being in Low Town I feel very lucky to hav enot been completely flooded out.

I’d say trade has slowed down, particularly at the end of last week and at the beginning of this week.”

In Shrewsbury, businesses were doing their best to recover, but were apprehensive ahead of more expected bad weather.

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Ollie Parry, from The Salopian Bar in Smithfield Road, isn’t expecting to be able to open again until May or June.

He said: “If we didn’t have flood insurance there’s no way I would have reopened. The cellar is completely under water. I’ve been here since 2005 and we’ve been flooded 44 times. This is the first time it’s got into the bar.

“All the equipment in the cellar will be condemned and we’ve lost about £10,000 of stock.”

“I think we’ll get it again on maybe Tuesday next week.

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Photo: Sarah Stanley

“The problem is when they get torrential rain in the Welsh hills. We had a flood in 2010 and we hadn’t had any rain for a month. People were wondering why but it all came from Wales.

“The staff have been brilliant and we were really lucky that regulars helped us out. I rang round about 20 people and they all came straight round and helped lift up the fridges and everything so nothing has been ruined in the bar. It’s good to have that community spirit, but there’s a hell of a lot to do before we can open up again.

“If they do put in flood defences here it’s going to be an expensive job and it’ll take a long time. I’ll still be here so I hope they do something for the long-term.”

Meanwhile Martin Lunt, from Lunt’s Pharmacies, is getting stuck in with the cleaning up alongside his staff.

He said: “We’re keeping a very close watch on the rain that is forecast for Friday and the impact that may have.

“We’re offering a service from Severn Pharmacy. Our customers can get their prescriptions from there.

“It’s been unfortunate for us that the Riverside Shopping Centre has been shut because people couldn’t access us through that way or the road.

“It’s something we have to accept. We’ve been here 35 years and only been flooded four times. You just try and manage.

“Our staff have been excellent and customers have been understanding.”

“It’s been very difficult to take. But we’ll keep doing the work to keep on going.”

Report complied by Mat Growcott, Rory Smith and Nick Humphreys

Matthew Growcott

By Matthew Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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