Angry residents criticise council as homes flood

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Angry residents have hit out at council chiefs after being left helpless as they watched their homes flood for the second time in a year.

Residents in Gerrard Road, Whitley Bay, were left seeking hefty insurance payouts last June when their homes were caught up in the flash flooding on ‘Thunder Thursday’, when rain water poured off Whitley Bay Golf Course and into their properties.

Properties in Gerrard Road in Whitley Bay which have been flooded again after Monday's downpour, just over a year since they were flooded on 'Thunder Thursday'. Jenny Foster in her ruined lounge with neighbours Mark Berry and his son Nathan. GM018099

Properties in Gerrard Road in Whitley Bay which have been flooded again after Monday's downpour, just over a year since they were flooded on 'Thunder Thursday'. Jenny Foster in her ruined lounge with neighbours Mark Berry and his son Nathan. GM018099

After complaining to North Tyneside Council, they were told that if there was a chance of flooding again, the authority would send out a pump to stop water entering homes.

But on Monday night, residents could only watch in horror as their properties were again flooded after the council failed to respond to their calls for help.

Jenny Foster, 38, said: “I called them about an hour before it all happened and they didn’t send anyone, and then my neighbour called about 20 minutes before and said you have about ten minutes to get a pump here to save these houses.

“We just needed a pump at the back to stop the water coming through. It was like a tidal wave, in minutes the houses were ruined.

“We were just getting the house back to normal after last year, and now it’s back to square one.

“We will have to dry it out again, the loss adjusters will come, we will have to start from the beginning again.

“Someone needs to take responsibility and take action.”

Neighbour Lianne Berry, 37, said: “We will have to start from scratch to fix the house, and I just keep thinking what if it happens again, I can’t go through it again.

“We just need someone to help us and take responsibility for it.

“We gave the council plenty of notice, and we were promised immediate action last year, if it happened again, rather than the same again.

“It was like groundhog day. Something needs to be done, we can’t sit worrying about whether it’s going to happen again every time it rains.”

A North Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We understand the distress caused when residents experience flooding and we apologise if they feel our services have not met their expectations.

“Since Thunder Thursday, a lot of work has gone on, or is planned, to help ensure the borough is ‘Flood Ready, Flood Safe’. However, it is likely that we will need to do even more.

“The dreadful experiences of people in the borough 12 months ago have heightened their concerns and that is reflected in the increasingly high number of calls we receive from the public requesting action on the ground and need to be dealt with in any incident.

“On Monday we responded to more than 100 calls for assistance during a very short timescale, it is clear we failed to respond quickly enough to the Gerrard Road properties in this instance.

“We have implemented a more proactive approach with our partners Capita Symonds to reduce the risk of flooding in known areas, and will now be working with Capita to ensure that this is reviewed following Monday’s experience.

“Officers are contacting the people affected in Gerrard Road to offer whatever assistance we can to those who have been affected.”