Shropshire Star

Stoic residents praised as frustration grows over 'lack of preparation' for heavy rain

An MP has taken up the case of residents who were flooded during Storm Babet.

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Philip Dunne MP with local residents Anne Hone, and Leanne Jones in Swains Meadow

Some 17 properties in Swains Meadow, Church Stretton, became victims of flood water earlier this month, and Ludlow MP Philip Dunne has praised householders for their stoicism in the face of heartbreak.

Mr Dunne had been invited by Shropshire councillor Hilary Luff, who had been active with her husband in helping victims to seek to protect their properties with sandbags and remove debris after flood waters had receded last week.

"It is heartbreaking for anyone whose home has been flooded. So I was deeply impressed by the stoicism and determination to get life back to normal as quickly as possible by those residents of Church Stretton whose homes had so unexpectedly flooded," he said.

Mr Dunne added that he has written to Severn Trent Water to seek an explanation for the "apparent failure of their pumps", which on previous occasions had removed the excess surface water, to see if this contributed to so many properties being damaged.

"I have also investigated with Shropshire Council whether residents of South Shropshire whose homes or businesses were flooded are eligible for support under the Flood Recovery Framework measures announced last week by Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Environment Secretary Therese Coffey."

Philip Dunne MP with Councillor Hilary Luff at Swains Meadow sewage pumping station

Michael Keenan, Network Operations Lead at Severn Trent, said: “Storm Babet delivered an exceptional level of rainfall in a very short time across our region, and we are aware that this area in particular experienced significant surface water flooding from the nearby A49. We are continuing to work with the local authorities to understand the impact that this had on our assets.”

Severn Trent is only responsible for sewer flooding and not surface drainage which is the responsibility of the local council and highways. Severn Trent confirmed that it had no reports of any kind of sewer flooding, or network problems in this area during the storm, indicating its network was operating as it should.

Chris Naylor, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new South Shropshire constituency at the general election, says the county needs to be better prepared for deluges like that that hit the area as part of Storm Babet.

Mr Naylor also met residents in Church Stretton affected by flooding from the A49.

He said: “Yet again it has rained hard. Yet again there were flash floods that could have been avoided if the county had been better prepared.

"Floods at Minsterley, Ludlow, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer and in many other towns and villages in the south of the county.

He had also met residents affected by flash flooding from the A49. Around a dozen houses in Swains Meadow were damaged.

Mr Naylor said that a Church Stretton Town Council plan to deal with emergencies was not needed on this occasion but it was "vital that we have that in place".

He added: “The stark reality is that south Shropshire needs to be better prepared for these deluges. The science is straightforward. As the climate warms, the air will hold more water. Deluges, rather than the steady rain we are used to, will become more common.

“There are two steps than should be taken immediately to reduce the impact of flash flooding.

“Shropshire Council should clean out all the roadside drains. Many are still blocked after debris was washed into them during the summer storms. Some are even growing grass. The council needs to make clearing drain blockages a priority."