Redcar Lib Dem MP Ian Swales arranged yesterday’s Coatham Road Social Club meeting in response to the floods which left many people counting the cost of water entering their homes - and some still waiting to return to them.
Up to 150 people attended, with Northumbrian Water and Redcar and Cleveland Council officials running the gauntlet of residents sick of facing another mopping-up operation. As reported, tanks installed after previous floods failed to cope with the latest deluge.
And with emotions running high, both organisations said urgent investigations into what happened, and what can be done to prevent similar problems in the future, were under way.
Northumbrian Water said its initial investigation will be completed by the end of October and everyone affected by the floods will be informed of the findings. But many residents were sceptical, having suffered floods - and heard promises of remedial action - before.
One of the most heartfelt pleas for action came from Hazel Lillystone of St Joseph’s Court, Redcar - one of the worst affected streets.
She said that after floods in 2009, her partner had proposed that a large pipe be installed to take water to the sea - one of many possible solutions mentioned at yesterday’s meeting.
Saying St Joseph’s Court was in a well-known flood area, she said: “Why did the council allow houses to be built there, knowing about the problems? People cannot get on with their lives - they are going to have nervous breakdowns.”
In a meeting lasting more than two hours, topics raised included the failure of flood alleviation schemes, insurance problems, the flooding of Dormanstown industrial units, difficulties reporting problems on the night and whether ancient culverts and the water level at Coatham Nature Reserve were at least partly responsible for the system’s failure to cope with the downpour.
Redcar and Cleveland Council’s director of regeneration services, Gerry Brough, said the council was about to launch its Local Plan consultation process and urged residents to make their views about the floods known during that period.
And the council’s leader, Councillor George Dunning, said the best chance of a solution was to get all parties “round the table”.
But Mr Swales wondered if the current water system could cope at all, given that floods seem to keep occurring.
He said: “The natural flow of water through this town is not being allowed to happen - the whole system seems to be cracking.”
To applause, he added: “Just how much development can the current system cope with? Every time you put new houses up, are you just causing another problem?”
Article from Gazette Live