Flood water drivers causing heartbreak

Richard Lyon sent in this photograph of flooding along Burnley Road, Todmorden, adjacent to Centre Vale Park, Sunday, August 5, 2012
Richard Lyon sent in this photograph of flooding along Burnley Road, Todmorden, adjacent to Centre Vale Park, Sunday, August 5, 2012

FLOODING of homes during and after Sunday’s thunderstorm could have been avoided if motorists had not driven through flood water.

Neighbours in several areas of Todmorden say some drivers, though by no means all, showed an uncaring attitude when asked not to drive through flood water but seek an alternative route.

Water poured down the steep-sided valley and with drains unable to cope with the deluge it soon caused surface flooding which left residents facing a battle to keep out the water.

It was the attitude of some drivers which was particularly distressing, they said.

In Rochdale Road, homes were under threat from Waterside through to Shade but would householders would have succeeded in keeping water outbut faced heartbreak when some vehicles carried on driving through flood water, sending waves over householders’ flood defences and into their homes, as Mandy Lord describes.

“Our house on Rochdale Road was badly hit, for the fourth time, by the floods on June 22 this year, and we, like many other Todmorden residents, are still trying to rebuild our home.

“We suffered from flash flooding again on Sunday evening, not from the river this time but from surface water literally pouring down the hillsides into the valley following the thunderstorm.

“We and other residents desperately battled to keep the water and sewage out of our homes and we would have succeeded had it not been for the selfish and impatient drivers who insisted on driving through the flood water sending wave after wave cascading through our homes.

“Thanks to these ignorant few, we’re going to spend the next week cleaning our homes again. Mopping and bleaching and then remopping and rebleaching the floors and then the long wait for them to dry out before we can start patching things up again. Luckily (although I don’t feel very lucky), we are not in a position to replace any of the carpets yet otherwise these would just have been ruined.

“When I pointed out to the car drivers the damage they were causing, one woman passenger actually wound down her window, shrugged her shoulders and said ‘It’s not my problem’. Yes, that really did happen. I sincerely hope they were not a Todmorden ‘lady’ – it would be sickening to think that a ‘local’ could behave in such a manner.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the drivers who did stop and to the policeman who came to our aid and controlled the traffic until we had managed to clear the drains and the water had subsided to a level where it was no longer a threat to our homes.

“To the ones who couldn’t care less about the damage they did to our homes, I am firm believer that you reap what you sow – just remember these words the next time that you are tempted to behave in such a selfish and callous manner.”

Mandy said in the June flooding water would have got in neighbours’ homes no matter what, but this time they could have kept it out.

Her views were echoes by residents in other parts of town, stressing it was some drivers’ attitude which caused distress as well as damage.

Bacup Road resident Dawn James said she appreciated some drivers may have felt worried and not really thinking about the results of what they were doing.

“Having said that it’s like a tidal wave and a car going through just sends another wave into the house,” she said. The pavement outside her home was not flooded until cars went past through the water, she added.

“It’s inconsideration, I would like to think, but one gave me a rude gesture while talking on his mobile phone. That was quite something to behold,” she said.

“Living in Todmorden there are so many nice people here it is an exception rather than the rule. There are plenty of people coming round to help clear up the drains and stuff. Last time it happened three teenagers actually went into the middle of the road to stop the traffic and slow it down.”

Posting on the Calder Valley Flood Victims Facebook site - see below for more details - Kyle Ashworth describes his attempts for around an hour to re-route or at least slow down traffic heading up Burnley Road adding “but they just carry on regardless” and giving an example of a vehicle plus trailer where the driver sped up when he signalled him to slow down, “laughing hysterically.”

Burnley Road neighbour Adrian Ashton managed to keep water out of his home by closing a flood gate and sealing his door frame and praised flood wardens for trying to keep cars away. Police also warned traffic to keep away but the road remained open when they had gone. Adrian wonders if flood wardens, for example, could be given the powers to close a flooded road.