Flood-hit families face wait to go home

Flash flooding on Ocean Road.
Flash flooding on Ocean Road.

MORE than 20 families are still unable to return to their homes two weeks after North Tyneside was left devastated by flash flooding.

Houses and roads throughout the borough were left submerged after a month’s worth of rain fell in two hours on Thursday, June 28.

Dozens of families were forced to find alternative accommodation while initial repairs were carried out on their water-damaged homes.

And some residents are still waiting to go back home as the remedial work is taking longer than first expected.

Altogether, 24 families, all council tenants, are still having to stay in other council houses elsewhere.

A North Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “We are trying to ensure tenants are temporarily rehoused as close to their homes as possible.”

Some private home-owners are also staying in temporary accommodation organised by their insurance companies.

Two Monkseaton schools badly damaged by the floods are set to remain closed for the remainder of the summer term, with council officials putting alternative arrangements in place for pupils.

Staff, parents and children at Langley First School and the adjoining Woodlawn School, in Langley Avenue, battled to save as much equipment and work as they could as the floodwater rose two weeks ago today.

Pupils at Langley First School are now being taught at Coquet Park First School in Whitley Bay, Appletree Gardens First School in Monkseaton and Monkseaton High in Seatonville Road.

Pupils at Woodlawn School are temporarily attending Benton Dene School in Longbenton, Beacon Hill School in Wallsend and Longbenton Community College.

Tynemouth Pool remains closed, although its gym is still open.

Childcare Norham day nursery, in Alnwick Road, North Shields, fully reopened yesterday after being affected by the flooding, and Howdon Children’s Centre, in Howdon Lane, was also forced to cut down the services it offers.

North Tyneside Council has flood patrols on standby in case of any more heavy rain and is monitoring at-risk locations.

Yesterday, the A1056 in Killingworth was reduced to one lane due to there being excessive standing water on it.

Concerns have been raised that the excessive rain leaving the ground saturated could result in more flooding, but borough mayor Linda Arkley is appealing for calm.

She said: “We would ask residents not to panic, and, wherever possible, to make sure they are prepared as far as they can be. There is advice on our website.

“It is also important that North Tynesiders do what they can do best – look out for each other and pay particular attention to vulnerable friends and neighbours.”

Floral displays have been washed away, and saturated ground conditions are preventing grass cutting, but grounds maintenance crews have been redeployed to trim highway verges and help remove debris and damaged items from flood-hit households.

Over a two-day period, they removed more than 28 tonnes of material.

Mrs Arkley added: “The floods have been challenging for many of our residents, businesses and organisations.

“I want to assure residents that despite these difficult conditions, I’m determined that North Tyneside will continue to look as good as possible.

“We’re doing this by adapting to the situation and using our resources in a way that we know will make the biggest difference.”

The floods led to significant damage to floral displays and grass verges. The damage is still being assessed, but, so far, £15,000 worth of reinstatement works have been identified.

The council plans to seek financial assistance for flood damage from the government.