DAYS of torrential rain across North Yorkshire have left properties at risk of subsiding, many roads still closed and residents mopping up, as the county counts the cost of the latest floods.
Engineers decided seven houses in Aelfleda Terrace, Whitby, on the cliffside near Whitby Abbey, would have to be demolished after parts of the garden subsided.
One female resident was evacuated. The other houses are holiday lets and were unoccupied.
Scarborough Council chief executive Jim Dillon said emergency services and engineers had examined the scene.
“We had to assess the severity of the slip movement and how it was affecting properties,”
Across the county the battle continued to protect homes and businesses for the second time in two months. At Malton fire crews spent the day pumping water contaminated by sewage which flooded some homes and threatened others when drains failed.
Householders in Pickering had to watch and wait as the floods threatened 50 homes but levels peaked without the river bursting its banks.
There were major traffic problems for some with more than 60 roads closed and delays on the A19 near York and Knayton, the A1 at Catterick and the A66 at Bowes and Ravensworth. Train services from York and Newcastle were hit by cancellations and delays.
Mark Schofield, from the Highways Agency, said staff were doing everything they could to keep roads open but there was always the risk of additional water running off fields.
Fire crews had to rescue four people from vehicles stranded in floodwater but across the county good Samaritans and communities rallied round to help each other. Brian Robinson, managing director of a machinary company in East Cowton, near Northallerton, came to the rescue of one woman who had to wade waist deep in floodwater when her car began to drift sideways in deep floodwater.
“We were able to lower a technician in the bucket of the forklift so he could fasten the straps to the stricken vehicles,”
he said. “I think some drivers just didn’t realise how deep the floods were when they got stuck.”
At Brompton, near Northallerton, Peter Wright said his home would have been eight inches underwater if he had not brought in four pumps and 150 sandbags himself.
“We end up with no help from anybody, if it wasn’t for friends and neighbours I would have been flooded. There needs to be a real overall investigation into flood defences across Northallerton.”
Thirk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh has called on the government to invest in more flood alleviation schemes.
“The bottom line is we must stop building in inappropriate areas such as functional flood plains,” she said.
“Clearly the deluge we have experienced over recent days is of biblical proportions but I do believe we could have done more between flood events as I have outlined.”
But North Yorkrshire County councilor Gareth Dadd said many of the problems were down to freak weather conditions.
He said: “Everyone has been working round the clock to keep the floodwater under control, but this is the second time in two months for many people. It’s absolutely appalling for those involved but a lot of this is caused by surface water.”