Defences activiated as Calder Valley fought battle against flooding

Todmorden resident Adrian Ashton took this picture of the floodwater in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, on Sunday, saying: "After putting up our floodgate gate, pumping sealant around the door frame, and checking on our neighbours, we headed out to Lake Todmorden  (previously Centre Vale park) for some family fun."
Todmorden resident Adrian Ashton took this picture of the floodwater in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, on Sunday, saying: "After putting up our floodgate gate, pumping sealant around the door frame, and checking on our neighbours, we headed out to Lake Todmorden (previously Centre Vale park) for some family fun."

Flood defences largely held despite being pushed to their limit as torrential rain plunged parts of the upper Calder Valley under water this week.

Dozens of volunteer flood wardens, council staff and Environment Agency workers sprung to action as warnings were issued to thousands of homes across Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Luddenden Foot during the weekend.

The flood defences in Todmorden were activated and sirens were sounded after heavy rainfall on Saturday led to rising water levels at the River Calder and Walsden Water.

Parts of Hebden Bridge were flooded following the rainfall and businesses in the town centre were damaged by water.

Rob Holden, who set up Calder Valley Community Support group Facebook site Calder Valley Flood Victims following serious flooding in 2012, thanked volunteers including Todmorden flood warden Keith Crabtree for helping protect homes.

Rob said on Facebook: “I‘d like to thank all the volunteers for all their hard work over the past few days, in particular Keith Crabtree, who although in his late sixties has been out in all weathers helping to protect residents of the Calder Valley from flooding.”

Rushing river water was redirected to Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park storage reservoir but the rainfall caused widespread disruption as some roads and rail lines were closed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The park, which was redesigned as part of a multi-million project around a decade ago to divert excess water from the river, was submerged on Sunday and soon people were seen kayaking at the site.

New defences, completed just last year, at Rochdale Road in Todmorden were also activated.

Some roads which were closed due to flooding included Eastwood and Callis between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, and Burnley Road between Ferney Lee Road and Ashenhurst in Todmorden.

The flood plain at Brearley Fields, Mytholmroyd, was also completely flooded and cars travelling through Tenterfields at Luddenden Foot had to ford through water.

Leader of Calderdale Council Coun Tim Swift said: “I’m really impressed with how quickly and tirelessly council staff, local people and other organisations worked over the weekend.

“I’d like to thank everyone for all the effort they have made to deal with the effects of such an intense burst of rain.

“A multi-million pound investment has been made on main river defences through Todmorden, and the council and our partners, including the Environment Agency, remain committed to working with local communities to make homes and businesses in Calderdale as safe as possible from flooding.”

Six teams of council staff and two gully wagons were dispatched as the rain fell to put road closures in place where necessary and help reduce the impact of the flooding.

The Environment Agency said experts were on the ground on Monday checking for any damage to flood defences and that more rain is forecasted up to the weekend.

Council officers will be on call 24 hours-a-day while further flooding risks persist.

The council said on Tuesday that water levels have now returned to normal after the rain.

For more information about disruption and flood risk across the borough visit eyeoncalderdale.com - there is also a link to it on the Calder Valley Flood Victims Facebook page.