Snow adds to misery of Shropshire communities cut-off by flooding

Residents hit hard by flooding in Shropshire have been left frustrated and exhausted after snow arrived to add to their misery .

Snow meets flooding in Melverley. Photo: Melanie Hadwick
Snow meets flooding in Melverley. Photo: Melanie Hadwick

Communities around Bridgnorth, Ironbridge, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and beyond were waiting for water levels on the River Severn to go down enough so they could start a post-flood clean-up over the weekend.

But they woke up to further weather chaos on Sunday morning as heavy snow left roads in treacherous conditions and meant clean-up operations were put on hold.

And while larger areas have received plenty of national attention and support, smaller villages along the Severn and River Vyrnwy have said they feel ignored and have not received the support they had hoped for.

In Jackfield, near Ironbridge, some residents have been moved out of their house for the second time in less than a year.

Flooding and snow in Jackfield on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Maczka

Amy Meredith, who lives in Jackfield, said: "We are currently in a hotel after the flood completely devastated our home for the second time in less then a year. On Friday afternoon we had be rescued by Shropshire Fire and Rescue by boat because we got trapped inside our house after flood waters rose so quickly trapping us in the bedrooms.

"It never gets mentioned how bad the floods affect our little community, we as a whole community feel as though all the focus is on Ironbridge when just a few miles down river there is a whole community in Jackfield completely cut off, most residents are living upstairs because lower levels are flooded out."

Amy said the council had been really helpful in finding them accommodation but it had been really hard recently.

She added: "The businesses have insurance but the little houses closet to the river either can't get insurance or the excess is just phenomenal and unaffordable."

Snow meets flooding in Melverley. Photo: Melanie Hadwick

Melverley, near Oswestry, was completely cut off when the floods hit the village. As roads started to clear of flood water, the snow and cold temperatures meant they would become even more dangerous.

Resident Jane Hadwick said on Sunday: "The worry is going to be tonight because all the water is going to freeze. The roads will be lethal tomorrow morning. The stretch in the middle of the village – we call it the clewi – you cannot get through.

"At least three properties had flood water enter them yesterday. Those residents were very angry because they had asked the council for sandbags but they didn't come.

"The gritters don't come down every section and there is still flood water on the roads which will freeze – the roads will be treacherous in the morning.

"Normally we can cope with flooding as we just wait for it to go down and bide our time, but with the snow and the cold temperature, it will lead to more problems."

Temporary accommodation

In Ironbridge, residents had spent most of Friday and Saturday attempting to keep the flood water out of their houses and businesses.

Councillor Carolyn Healy said the snow only added to their problems as it meant all roads to the Gorge had to be closed due to the dangerous amount of ice hidden under the snow on the roads.

Around 18 people have been evacuated from their homes in Ironbridge and moved to temporary accommodation.

"It's not great being flooded again," Councillor Healy said. "The river levels are dropping and people are now starting to do what they can, take stock of damage and clear up. The snow has hampered that because we can't support by getting in with skips yet.

Snow hits Ironbridge flood barriers

"Some people have had to move out of their homes. A total of nine houses, which is around 18 people, were evacuated. Others were offered but some did want to stay and wait it out.

"The feeling I am getting from residents this time is whilst people are distressed and frustrated at being flooded again, a lot was learnt from last year's floods by the council and residents themselves. We can't stop the river coming up but roads were closed quickly to stop people driving through flood water which pushes it into houses, and makes it worse.

"We were also making sure we kept in touch with people who had been affected and provided sandbags."

After a historically difficult year in 2020 as the country entered numerous lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the floods have only caused more heartache.

And it is the second serious flooding incident within 11 months.

"As well as residents quite a few businesses have been affected," Councillor Healy added. "Obviously being in lockdown they haven't been trading, but it has been a trying year with the virus and now floods on top. Hopefully we can get them cleaned up and running again."

Flooding in Bridgnorth

And in Bridgnorth, deputy mayor Sarah Barlow said the snow created more problems, especially as it was bound to thaw and add to the water levels.

"People are fed up," Councillor Barlow said. "Yesterday was a bit difficult as we were having calls from residents saying they needed sandbags. But people who needed to evacuate were evacuated and temporary accommodation has been set up around the town in hotels and B&B's.

"But the snow on top of all this – we probably would have been alright but it's starting to thaw now. It's quite scary for people.

"What the council is hoping to do is have a meeting with Shropshire Council and the Environment Agency as soon as we can. to move forward. I grew up here in Bridgnorth and never had floods like this. Over the last few years things have really escalated."

Councillor Barlow said that some residents who live by the river had only moved back in to their homes in around October and they were now faced with more flooding problems.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News