Floods threaten homes as more rain is forecast

A home in Carlton that saw water levels rise up to house level over the weekend
A home in Carlton that saw water levels rise up to house level over the weekend

Bedford may not have been hit by the flooding as badly as elsewhere in the country - but we have certainly had a share.

Britain has been hit with the wettest winter in 250 years - with homes in the West Country being devastated by floods.

And in Bedfordshire last Friday emergency services were working since the early hours of the morning to help those affected by the deluge of rain that hit on Thursday night.

Roads were blocked around the county, with the main A421 being blocked with water until 2pm at Marston Moretaine.

Residents of The Causeway in Carlton woke up on Friday to find their driveways under water.

Resident Amanda Farrall feared her house was going to be flooded. She said: “I awoke to find my front garden under several inches of water, which was becoming very close to entering my house.

“The situation worsened as the day went on with my neighbours and I experiencing a torrent of water running down our road, only to be alleviated by the hard work of the local fire service.”

She criticised the council after representatives only turned up later in the afternoon to clear the drain, but left early without draining them.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Council officers visited Carlton last week and cleared the ditch from New Barn Farm which relieved flooding in the immediate local area.

“The council conducts regular inspections of the ditches in the area and will continue to do so and respond where necessary with drain clearance.”

85-year-old Felicity Whittaker, who suffers with back problems, lives with her 87-year-old husband at Bromham Park, just inches from the river.

She has also hit out at the council for not doing enough.

She said: “On Friday it was really bad, it didn’t quite get into our house but it did go into the cellar. Water levels are still very high and with more ran forecast we are really worried.

“I asked the council to see what protection they could offer us and all they said was go and get some sandbags and fill them up.

“How is a disabled elderly woman meant to do that?”

A spokesman for the council said: “Special ‘aqua bags’ are ready for use locally to be installed at appropriate locations and these have the potential to direct the flow of water and help protect communities.

“An additional 1,000 have also been ordered which will be available ahead of further rain predicted at the weekend.”

The council says it is working with local emergency services and volunteer groups to provide a joined up approach to tackle the threat of floods affecting homes and businesses in the borough.

Flood response officers have been contacting homes that could be affected by continued heavy rainfall.

It is also working with local organisations including the RSPCA and Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers and emergency services to be prepared should more flooding take place.

>>A Bedford man, fresh from helping out in The Philippines, has been helping flood victims in Somerset.

Ravi Gill, who volunteers with charity Khalsa Aid, is used to helping out following natural disasters abroad - but this time the charity is helping its own country.

He travelled to Somerset in the early hours of Sunday morning, along with another Bedford volunteer, Jag Grewal.

They have since been helping to fill sandbags, set up barriers to stop water coming in and generally help people whose homes have been affected by the floods.

He is at Burrowbridge in Somerset, which is one of the worst hit areas and was visited by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Ravi said: “We weren’t sure what reaction we would get here but its been amazing. Everyone here is so positive, they’re not getting down about it, they’re just doing all they can to help each other.

“There’s a real community spirit, it’s so lovely to see. I haven’t paid for one meal since we got here and people are offering their homes for us to say overnight in.

“There’s a local pub here who have been fantastic. Anytime we want a bit of a rest, a drink or something to eat we can go in there.”

He added: “I have never seen anything like this in my life, fields are looking like seas. There is a pumping station pumping one tonne of water out every second from the fields, but water levels still aren’t going down.”

Although Ravi said mostly the locals had been positive, he said it has been hard to see people have to leave their homes.

He said: “There was one gentleman we visited, his house had been really badly hit. He was quite poorly because he had a heart attack at Christmas.

“Then he started feeling very unwell again and we had to get him airlifted to hospital.

“And there was another house where there was water going up to the windowsill of one room, so we had to get them out.

“But it was a disabled child’s room and her dad had to get her to leave her electric bed. It’s moments like those that you realise these people’s lives have been turned upside down.”

Visit www.bedfordtoday.co.uk for more pictures