Call for action over flooding nightmare

The flood in Woodland View and (below) Gordon and Irene Slack sit on sandbags outside their home with disabled grandson, Kieran
The flood in Woodland View and (below) Gordon and Irene Slack sit on sandbags outside their home with disabled grandson, Kieran

HOMEOWNERS are calling for action after claiming their houses have been hit by floods eight times so far this year.

Four properties in Woodland View, in Wingate, were left under up to six inches of water on July 11 following the recent bad weather.

Gordon and Irene Slack with grandson Kieran

Gordon and Irene Slack with grandson Kieran

Firefighters spent five hours pumping away floodwater during an operation that involved four fire engines.

Days later residents, who blame problems on a nearby drain, are still counting the cost, which they estimate to run into thousands of pounds worth of damage to their properties.

For Gordon and Irene Slack, in addition to the estimated £5,000-plus they believe it will cost to replace carpets, settee, two laptops and wallpaper, they have also had to banish their 14-year-old disabled grandson from their home, as the damp conditions could severely affect his health.

Grandson Kieran Baxter, also from Wingate, spends a lot of his time at his grandparents house and had to be taken home when the flood hit.

Wellfield Community School pupil Kieran suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that causes it to work harder to pump blood, and had a heart transplant last year.

Mr Slack, a 59-year-old retired Wingate Constitutional Club steward, who has lived in his home for 35 years, said: “The road has been flooded eight times this year, but it’s only ever came up to the doorway, it’s never been as bad as this.

“Our grandson stays with us, but we had to phone his dad, who had to give him a fireman’s lift out of the house and take him home.

“He had a heart transplant last year, but he can’t stay here while it’s like this, he’s got a low immune system.”

Mr Slack, who is dad to Kieran’s mum Leanne Baxter, 32, and has three other grandchildren, added: “We’re fed up. Even if we wanted to move, who’s going to buy the house now if it floods.

“We feel really let down as neither Northumbrian Water nor Durham County Council will admit to the fault.”

Mrs Slack, 63, who was stewardess at the Constitutional club, added: “We can’t have this every time it rains. We’d only decorated three weeks ago.”

A Northumbrian Water spokeswoman said: “We appreciate the distress and upset that the flooding caused. Northumbrian Water received two calls reporting flooding, one in November and one earlier this month.

“We have carried out a camera survey to our sewer and are in the process of carrying out a detailed study to understand how the sewer network in this area copes in different weather conditions.

“In the meantime we will increase the frequency of sewer cleansing and are working closely with Durham County Council to determine the next steps.”

Dave Wilcox from Durham County Council said workers will look at highway drainage and watercourses to try to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.