Mill owner voiced his fears that works would ‘dam up’

The view from John Hollows' mill at the Old Fire Station, Todmorden, as Walsden Water burst through the flood works and onto Rochdale Road
The view from John Hollows' mill at the Old Fire Station, Todmorden, as Walsden Water burst through the flood works and onto Rochdale Road

A BUSINESSMAN whose mill was flooded two weeks ago voiced his concerns over some working practices on flood alleviation works nearby.

Mr John Hollows, of J. and J. Hollows, who own the Old Fire Station on Rochdale Road, said he had spoken to representatives of contractors Volker Stevin about his concerns two months ago but was told there were no concerns, that adequate steps were being taken and river levels at several locations were being monitored which would alert them of any increase in water flow in Walsden Water.

In particular he was concerned about plastic piping being laid in the river, taking out the weir, rubble being left in the river and the supports across the river trapping any debris and forming a “dam” which would stop or impede the water flow. Mr Hollows said a tree had wedged across these props on the night of June 22, when Todmorden was severely flooded.

At around 7.30pm Walsden Water broke out through a gap between the shuttering and the road over the river, with nothing to stop it flowing down the road.

“The fear of the river damming up and breaking over due to the state it had been left in has now turned into a nightmare for the businesses affected,” he said.

A spokesman for Volker Stevin said that the Environment Agency would comment on the matter but Volker Stevin would not be issuing a futher comment. An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We will be having further talks about Mr Hollows’ concerns.”