'We're fed up': Gidea Park families call for action on persistent flooding
- Credit: Catherine Hull
Romford families have called for action to tackle persistent flooding after homes were wrecked in heavy rainfall this weekend.
Around 40mm (1.5 inches) of rain fell in an hour on Friday, the highest amount in the borough since 2016, according to Havering Council.
Graham and Sarah Argue live with Graham’s five-year-old daughter on Ramsay estate in Gidea Park, which was badly affected by Friday’s weather.
Sarah told this paper: “We are quite fortunate; we were some of the lucky ones.
“We had to rip up all the carpets and there is damage to the skirting, but our neighbours had it far worse.
“We were told on Friday evening by the council there wasn’t much they could do because it was out of hours, but there should be systems in place for this.
“Someone came round and told us to go and stay somewhere else.
“Luckily, we have got family to go to - what about other people who have got nowhere to go?”
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Havering Council said a number of residents were found alternative accommodation after their homes were flooded and it also ensured those who are most vulnerable were cared for.
A local authority liaison Officer (LALO) was on-site at Ramsay Gardens to talk through their concerns while providing support and advice to all residents in the area, the council added.
However, Graham said "sewage water" in his flat was a health and safety issue.
“This has happened before, and we’re fed up," he added.
“The damp is bad for my daughter's health."
They stayed with family nearby, but are not sure when they will be allowed to return to their home.
Graham explained a council representative had promised other residents’ humidifiers to deal with the damp, but these had not materialised.
He added: “We feel we were left to make do ourselves.
“We are a low-income family living in a council property, we can only do so much.”
However, Havering Council said its teams were out in the borough "within an hour" of Friday’s flash floods to clear the roads and drains and "ensure the safety of our residents".
Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Damian White, added: "The council is doing everything we can to support our residents at what for many is a very difficult time.
“All gullies and culverts are maintained on a frequent basis, and we dedicate time to clearing flooding hot spots when there are weather warnings.
“In this case, unfortunately there were no warnings and no matter how much we planned, our drainage network could not cope with the sheer volume of the rainfall we experienced within an hour.”
Catherine Hull, who lives on Main Road in Gidea Park, was also frustrated by ongoing drainage problems.
“Our garage floods every time it rains heavily, it’s a nightmare.
“The roads just can’t cope with it, so it all goes onto the drive.”
Catherine, who lives with her daughter and elderly mother, claimed the flooding had worsened since the roads were resurfaced a few years ago.
Following Friday’s flood, the family had thrown out 20 bags of damaged belongings from the garage, including some items of her fathers, who passed away a few weeks ago.
The resident said when she telephoned for help, she was directed from the council to the water company and back again.
“We are just fed up to the teeth with it,” she said.
“If it’s heavy rain in the night I don’t sleep properly as I have to keep checking on the garage.”
Cllr Damian White said: “Our hearts go out to the people and households that have been affected by the recent floods.
“I can only imagine how traumatic it must be to see your property being damaged by extreme weather.”
He added: “The hardest-hit areas were in Gallows Corner, Collier Row and Gidea Park and we are immensely proud of the way our officers were able to respond and support our residents that needed our support.”
“It is important to understand with regards to the drains that the Council is only responsible for the drains on the roads," the leader added.
"The sewers are the responsibility of Thames Water.
“The drains are a shared responsibility between the Council and Thames Water.
"The Council has a robust maintenance programme in place to keep the surface drains as clear as possible and we are regularly calling on Thames Water to upgrade and improve their sewers to be able to cope with higher amounts of rain.”
Thames Water has been approached for comment.