Rural villages cut off by floods say they have been forgotten

Rural communities left stranded by flooding have been "forgotten" according to residents, who have called for more support.

Flooding in Pentre left roads impassable
Flooding in Pentre left roads impassable

Heavy rain last week saw flooding strike across the county, with major problems in Shrewsbury, but residents living in some of the villages upstream from the county town said they also need more help – particularly in the form of sandbags.

Pentre, Edgerley and Melverley, have all faced major flooding as a result of Storm Christoph.

The situation has left some roads impassable, with properties cut off and only accessible by boat, with some homeowners having to put up their own flood defences.

The area was also severely affected 11 months ago.

In Melverley around 55 houses were cut off completely by flood water, with a number of them still cut off on Monday afternoon.

Several people also needed rescuing from vehicles in the areas around the villages.

Jayne Cuthbert-Brown, who lives in Pentre with her husband Mark, said the village had been completely cut off.

She has called for more support from the local authority, and more attention to make people aware that roads in the area are impassable.

She said that without notices being issued cars had still be trying to get through the flooding, risking getting stranded and also creating more risk to roadside properties with waves created by the motion.

She said: "There has been no support at all. All of the social media information I have seen from Shropshire Council and the Environment Agency has been completely focussed on Shrewsbury.

"We understand that people in Shrewsbury have to be warned but so do we.

"There has been nothing to say 'Pentre get ready, something is coming'."

Flooding in Pentre left roads impassable. Picture Eve Morris

Mrs Cuthbert-Brown they felt the areas had been "forgotten".

The 54-year-old also called for more practical support in terms of sandbags for properties, and more information on what is being done to protect homes in future.

She said: "Last year we could not get sandbags. We were told we had to go to a depot in Shrewsbury or Oswestry. You just can't afford the time out to do it when you are preparing your house for a flood. There were some eventually delivered after a lot of pressure and they were not distributed to houses in time for the flood."

She added: "We had a visit from the council in February last year. They have not been back since. We have had no correspondence from the council or the Environment Agency since. We do not even know if the argae has been inspected after last year's flooding."

Rosy Harding, a Melverley Parish Councillor, said there were a number of concerns raised by the flooding, particularly the request for sandbags from Shropshire Council.

She said there also needs to be an investigation into why the flooding is so severe – when properties that were not affected in 2000's major flooding, are now being hit.

She said: "We sent a formal order to Shropshire Council for sandbags in in October last year. We got a list of what houses needed what and were under the impression they would get delivered to Melverley Village Hall and I would stand there with my clipboard while people came to collect them, but we have never received them and we have chased repeatedly.

"There are a couple of residents who are really frustrated this week because they would have made a big difference for them."

She added: "We really need those sand bags and we need to look at a more permanent solution. There are houses that did not have water in them in 2000 that were flooded last week. Something has changed."

She continued: "We have really noticed the change of the way water is coming into the village. There is water coming into the top end of the village that has not been coming into those places previously. We have heard work has been done on flood defences upstream and we have asked for information as to whether that has affected it."

A spokesman for Shropshire Council said they had intended to provide sandbags but it had not been possible. The authority also said that it would be working to try and address the flooding in the future.

John Bellis, drainage and flood risk manager said: “Shropshire Council have been working with the local community in Melverley and Pentre to identify properties at risk with the intention of proactively providing a supply of sandbags for use by the local community.

“Unfortunately it was not possible to make these arrangements before the flooding occurred this year. Shropshire Council make sandbags available for collection to the general public year round at any of our highways depots. Residents in flood prone areas have the opportunity throughout the year to collect these to aid in the protection of their own properties located in flood risk areas.

"The council does make every effort to provide sandbags, but it has to be recognised that emergency delivery of sandbags during a storm event when resources are stretched is challenging."

He added: “Planning for and managing the impact of flooding is the responsibility of the Environment Agency, therefore Shropshire Council will be working with the Environment Agency and the Local Community on a Community Flood Action Plan which will address issues such as this in the future.”

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