6:07pm Thursday 19th September 2013
By Graeme Hetherington
AN emotionally charged meeting heard how flooding in Redcar earlier this month has left residents angry and frustrated.
The town was deluged under water on Friday, September 6, when torrential rain swept through a number of properties in the town.
More than 100 people packed out a public meeting in the Coatham Road Social Club after the town’s MP called for action to resolve the continuing problem.
As well as the Ian Swales, officials from Northumbrian Water and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were on hand to listen to residents’ concerns.
One of the worst affected areas in the town was St Jospeh’s Court where around 60 homes were evacuated despite a multi-million flood defence scheme.
Hazel Lillystone, of St Joseph’s Court, called for the estate to be pulled down and homeowners reimbursed.
The 64-year-old, who became increasingly emotional, said: “I would like to know why the council allowed houses to be built there knowing about the problem of flooding. I would also like to know why these houses were given permission without the land getting levelled.
“I want to know who will give us money so that we can move away from the estate to somewhere where we will be able to get to sleep on a night.”
John Taylor, of New Marske, near Redcar, criticised Northumbrian Water for not having enough people in their contact centre to ensure residents were able to report problems.
He said: “We are told that speed is of the essence but the problem was that when the heavy rain came, people were unable to get in touch with Northumbrian Water. What sort of response is it when you have got people whose homes are getting flooded and they can’t get through to anybody.”
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s director of regeneration services Gerry Brough assured residents that all planning applications had a flood risk assessment before approval and told them that the council will work with everybody to resolve the problem.
Mike Madine, Northumbrian Water’s sewerage manager, said he hoped that the investigation into the cause of the flooding would be completed by the end of October.
He said: “We do take flooding seriously and we do understand the distress that it causes.”
Closing the meeting, Mr Swales told residents he would continue to fight to get answers to their questions and wants Northumbrian Water to take action to shop homes getting flooded.
He said: “If it is a choice of raw sewage getting into the sea or into someone’s house – I know which one I would choose.”
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