DEVASTATING FLASH FLOOD SWAMPS HALTWHISTLE HOMES, UK

A GROUP of residents in Haltwhistle have been devastated after flood water poured into their homes for the third time two years

Firefighters frantically pumped water away from the Mart on Wednesday afternoon, after a 30-minute downpour left gardens submerged.

Water got inside three houses, despite an investment of over £100,000 in water-tight flood doors by Home Group, which manages the properties, last year.

One resident has called for the Mart to be knocked down, after returning home from a hospital appointment to find half of his living room carpet saturated.

Partially-sighted Robert McKill (74), who has lived at the Mart for six years said: “They should never have built them in the first place. They are nice houses, but there is a history of flooding at this site. The flood-proof doors have not worked.”

Mr McKill’s daughter Pat Irving, of Gilsland, says her father will no longer stay at the house.

She said: “The patio doors have just been fitted, and they are supposed to be flood proof. My father has health problems, he’s on dialysis, and this is the last thing he needs. It’s so distressing.

“I’ll be putting him up for the time being, and he’ll be moving out.”

While the water inside Mr McKill’s property has soaked the carpet, it has not damaged the TV and other property, unlike two years ago, when he lost items of sentimental value.

Mrs Irving said: “Nobody from Home Group has been out to see us. I’ve tried to call them but can’t get through.”

Four fire engines attended the Mart shortly after 4pm, as crews pumped water into the nearby burn.

The fire service’s group manager for West Northumberland, Lee Buckingham, said: “I’ve never seen rain like it. The water was knee deep outside the houses and you can see the water mark on the road.

“There is only so much water you can pump into the burn, so we had to start putting it back into the water course using the drains.

“We are well versed in dealing with the flooding here, but it has been very distressing for the residents nonetheless.”

Some drains were unable to cope, however, with torrents of water flowing down Comb Hill, while road surfaces on Willia Road and Aesica Road were also affected.

A spokesman for Home Group said the organisation was made aware of the flooding at shortly after 4pm on Wednesday, and immediately dispatched sandbags.

Customer service manager, Carolyn Wood said: “We invested more than £110,000 last year to install flood proof doors, airbricks and non-return valves to 21 homes. “The doors remained watertight on the vast majority of properties protecting customers from flooding.

“We’ll investigate why these three doors failed and we’ll give further training to customers to ensure they know how to operate them correctly to create a watertight seal.”

The Co-op store in Haydon Bridge was also closed on Wednesday due to flooding.

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