Plan will tackle flooding misery

FLOOD PLAN ...  left to right, Whitehouse production supervisor Dave Hall, Coun Moira Smith, Coun Ken Stephenson and resident John Drynan.

FLOOD PLAN ... left to right, Whitehouse production supervisor Dave Hall, Coun Moira Smith, Coun Ken Stephenson and resident John Drynan.

FLOODING misery could be a thing of the past for dozens of residents on a South Tyneside estate.

Many people in Wuppertal Court, Jarrow, saw their homes flooded out during last year’s unprecedented super-storm, with some seeing their properties engulfed two and three times.

But now a scheme launched as part of borough-wide anti-flooding measures could help keep residents’ homes dry during future torrential downpours.

About 50 homes in Wuppertal Court are benefiting from the Property Level Protection scheme, including flood-resistant external doors, flood gates, non-return valves in waste pipes and outlets, plus resealing of windows to reduce the risk of surface water flooding.

Funded by the Environment Agency, the scheme is the latest in a series of moves to reduce flood risk in areas affected by last year’s extreme weather.

One of the worst-hit residents last summer was 65-year-old John Drynan, who has lived in Wuppertal Court since it was built in the 1970s.

He said: “My home was flooded three times and it happened twice last year.

“I was in the house the last time it happened and saw the waters building up and I quickly moved as many things upstairs as I could.

“The most irritating thing was waiting for the water to dry out and listening to the dehumidifier rattling away for months afterwards.

“I lost some family photographs to the flood waters, so I would advise people to make sure that precious items are stored somewhere safe.”

Mr Drynan added: “I’m glad something has been done to protect our houses and it’s good to see new gullies installed around the estate.

“There’s only one way to find out how well it works.”

Every home in the scheme area has been individually assessed by a flood surveyor, with measures installed meeting stringent kitemark standards, wherever possible.

Primrose ward councillor Ken Stephenson said: “Wuppertal Court was hit hard by last year’s extreme weather, so this scheme will make a real difference for residents.

“Surface water flooding can happen very quickly, but these measures do not have to be specially installed when there is a flood warning, so they will still provide increased protection if there is sudden extreme weather, while householders are at work or away on holiday.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Property Level Protection is not right for every place, but it is a good option for areas that are prone to localised flash flooding, provided it is not linked to wider problems in other locations nearby.

“Flood problems are extremely complex and no two areas are the same, so we are continuing to work towards a range of different measures, both short and long-term, with the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water.”

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