Extract from Windsor Express - Sat 27 September 2014 -
by Francis Batt
Couple still living in front garden six months after floods
couple are still living in their front garden more than six months after
February's devastating floods wrecked their home of 50 years.
Keith Huckle, 79 and his wife Jane, 76, of Ouseley Road, Wraysbury are
now in a cramped mobile home parked in front of their house - paid for
by their insurance company.
The ground floor rooms of their home are bare with all the floorboards
gone following the damage caused by the rising water.
Huckle said: "We don't know what to do. Neither of us is very well. "My
wife is still tending the garden which has been helping and the
neighbours have been wonderful. But we are dreading the winter."
Huckle added: "We have arguments but you can't avoid that when you are
in a confined space together for six months. He fears he and his wife
may have to leave the village. A recent report by a surveyor brought
little comfort. The house may have to be rebuilt.
"When we first saw the house 50 years ago it was a cold and rainy night
and the road was a dirt track. But when we saw the garden and the patio
inside we knew we wanted it to be our home," he said.
Huckle says his biggest mistake was arranging for initial repair work to
be carried out by a company from outside the area, whose van turned up
in the village soon after the floods. He was not satisfied with the
work done and the subsequent wrangle has caused unwelcome delays.
Wraysbury's flood warden Dave Francis said: "There are still 31 people
in the village unable to live in their homes.
"We are all rallying round to look after them as best we can."
from “ThamesAwash” 19/09/14
Of Forgotten Flood Victims Eight Months On
Eight months on, most of those forced out of their house by flooding are
still unable to return home.
the majority of those flooded in January and February 2014 and forced
out of their homes, the nightmare is still a reality that affects them
daily. Bureaucratic Council officials, obdurate insurance companies and
red tape have combined to prevent effective and rapid action to help
flood victims return to their homes whilst little or no real progress
has been made to ensure that the long term solution to flooding in the
Lower Thames (the River Thames Scheme) is funded.
Stories from Ham Island, Old Windsor, Berkshire – Flood victims still
out of their homes……….
Ham Island, several houses were flooded, three of which resulted in
evacuation and those households are still unable to return. Flood
wardens Gillie and Jim’s nightmare still continues. With Jim in
hospital recovering from surgery, Gillie had to abandon their home and
they have been forced to move three times to different rented
accommodation whilst their insurance company has taken over 7 months to
“assess” the damage to their home. In this time, their once beautiful
lockside house has been wrecked whilst engineers try to determine the
extent of the damage – floors have been taken up, walls have been
removed, ceilings taken down and foundations dug up.
choice but to rebuild – but no funds to afford it
structural engineer’s report indicates that Gillie and Jimmie’s house
needs to be re-built but the Local Authority will only allow this if the
house is re-built at least a metre higher. However, the Insurance
Company will only fund the reinstatement of Gillie and Jimmie’s current
house which means that they would have to find the extra money. As
pensioners in their 60s and 70s, this is something that they cannot
afford; and so, the nightmare continues. Why should they after all they
have been through battle with the insurance company to find a solution?
What does the future hold for them?
Zara’s Story - Flooded in Pooley Green, Egham Hythe, Surrey & still
14th February, Zara called her local council to say that
water was coming into her house, coming over the door, and seeping in
through her floor boards. Eventually, an evacuation team arrived and
she had to explain to her two young sons that they had to leave their
home, their toys and treasured things to meet an uncertain future.
no civil emergency contingency plan in place, this consisted of an offer
from an hotelier for shelter in an hotel which had been closed for
refurbishment. The three of them were offered a single room in the
hotel with a bathroom and no play area for the children. There was no
assessment of the suitability of the accommodation for Zara and her two
young children. Every day, Zara faced a 40mile return trip to get her
son Sam to school. After 4 weeks of this, she was offered different
temporary accommodation at another hotel – but this time, the nearest
parking for the car was a mile away! Since then, Zara has had to move a
further three times and finally to more temporary accommodation in
Chertsey where at last she thought she could re-establish a more normal
However, the Council have told her that she will have to return to her
flat in Pooley Green. The only catch is that her home is still boarded
up and the Council have no idea when they will start the repairs. Zara
has heard rumours that the Council do not intend to do this until we are
through the next winter in case the flooding starts all over again… In
the meantime, Zara is still faced with paying standing charges for the
electricity and gas at her old flat which she has not been able to live
in since February.
7 months left to fund the permanent solution for flooding
Gillie, Jimmie and Zara’s situation are just two stories amongst
hundreds of tragic human stories that can be told. The economic impact
for the region is equally serious with thousands of work days lost with
each flood event as a result of flooding to roads and railway.
reality is that the flooding we experienced this year is going to get
worse and happen more often unless something is done.
permanent solution for flooding in the Lower Thames Valley, the River
Thames Scheme, has been designed, approved and only awaits a commitment
to its funding.
Central government has committed £136m of the £256m required within the
current funding round. The rest needs to be agreed by the 7 Local
Authorities whose constituents are affected. If this is not agreed
before the next election, the prospect of this permanent solution being
implemented within the next 30 years will disappear.
lower Thames Valley has the highest number and value of homes,
businesses and public infrastructure unprotected and at threat from
flooding in the whole of the United Kingdom. All those threatened need
to lobby their local Councils to support partnership funding for the
River Thames Scheme. Whether we fix flooding for good in the Lower
Thames Valley really is at stake right now.