Raw sewage lines the streets of Cirencester as flooding misery returns to the town

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Raw sewage lines the streets of Cirencester as flooding misery returns to the town Raw sewage lines the streets of Cirencester as flooding misery returns to the town

INCHES of water and raw sewage greeted residents of a Cirencester street on Tuesday morning after a night of torrential rain caused another bout of flooding misery.

People living in Cherry Tree Drive could only watch as streams of excess water, carrying raw sewage and toilet paper, poured out of manhole covers and into residents’ front and back gardens.

Brian Barnes, of Cherry Tree Drive and chairman of the Churn Catchment Flood Prevention Group, told the Standard that the flooding started early on Saturday morning and was made worse by the heavy rain on Monday night.

He said: “It’s been pretty dire here. Living in this area is like having the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head every winter. We are constantly waiting for the big storm to come and flood our homes.”

Brian told how the flooding had prevented him and his wife from carrying out everyday chores such as washing clothes and dishes and flushing the toilet.

“It’s just a massive, massive inconvenience for everybody that has been affected by it,” he said.

Engineers from Thames Water arrived at Cherry Tree Drive on Tuesday morning to aid people affected by the flooding.

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “Our teams have been working around the clock in Cirencester to combat heavy rainfall and river floodwater entering our sewer network.

“We’ve so far received no reports of customers suffering from internal sewer flooding and we hope this is due to our proactive work in the community over the last year.”

However, people living in Hereward Road, a notorious flooding blackspot, managed to escape the worst of flooding after early preventative measures were put in force.

A wall of sandbags was erected near to the Hereward Road properties closest to the River Churn and a water pump was brought in to Thames Water to pump contaminated water into the Abbey Grounds.

Dorothy Hoyle, of Hereward Road, said that she lives in constant fear of bad weather hitting the town.

She said: “I feel absolutely sick when I hear it’s going to rain. I lose all of my appetite and I just never feel safe indoors.”

Cirencester mayor Joe Harris, who spent the weekend helping those affected, criticised Cotswold District Council after he claimed that its emergency phone line was down during the heavy rain.

He said: “It’s absolutely awful. I gave it a try and could not get through. We had an unfolding situation and there was no way of getting through to the emergency helpline.”

CDC disputed the Mayor’s claims. A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, due to a high volume of calls being handled during the adverse weather on Saturday, customers may have experienced a longer than normal wait.

“Records show that on Saturday the average wait time for CDC calls to be answered was around two and a half minutes. This resulted in 12 calls being abandoned because the callers chose not to wait for an answer.

“On Sunday, the service was returned to normal efficiency. Residents can rest assured that CDC was fully prepared to respond to potential emergencies.”

Comments (7)

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8:29am Thu 9 Jan 14

Iansky says...

I am pleased to see that Thames Water are up to their normal high standard of response, they have after all only had over a year to rectify the problems encountered last year and here they are again.

Once again they have failed to put in place measures to deal with heavy rainfull and its impact - no surprises on either count!

Well done Joe, again for the second year in a row he was there in person helping.....where were the others from the council.............
...?
I am pleased to see that Thames Water are up to their normal high standard of response, they have after all only had over a year to rectify the problems encountered last year and here they are again. Once again they have failed to put in place measures to deal with heavy rainfull and its impact - no surprises on either count! Well done Joe, again for the second year in a row he was there in person helping.....where were the others from the council............. ...? Iansky
  • Score: 5

9:11am Thu 9 Jan 14

Josephine Public says...

Well done Brian for keeping up the pressure on Thames Water and the Council and well done Joe as well.
Well done Brian for keeping up the pressure on Thames Water and the Council and well done Joe as well. Josephine Public
  • Score: 4

3:39pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Olly Cromwell says...

Thames Water need to get their act together, but Cotswold District Council's bumbling bunkercrat Bob MacNally really does need a course in customer service skills if he is blaming residents on the verge of being flooded for not hanging on the line long enough before the Emergency number was answered!

I witnessed ubiquitous MayorJoe Harris manning the barricades and Cllr Hodgkinson making a visit.

After all his huffing and puffing last year and promises to actually forward Minutes of Meetings to Thames Water the Cotswold MP (for the second year running) was a no show.
Thames Water need to get their act together, but Cotswold District Council's bumbling bunkercrat Bob MacNally really does need a course in customer service skills if he is blaming residents on the verge of being flooded for not hanging on the line long enough before the Emergency number was answered! I witnessed ubiquitous MayorJoe Harris manning the barricades and Cllr Hodgkinson making a visit. After all his huffing and puffing last year and promises to actually forward Minutes of Meetings to Thames Water the Cotswold MP (for the second year running) was a no show. Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 6

9:24am Fri 10 Jan 14

Iansky says...

Olly Cromwell wrote:
Thames Water need to get their act together, but Cotswold District Council's bumbling bunkercrat Bob MacNally really does need a course in customer service skills if he is blaming residents on the verge of being flooded for not hanging on the line long enough before the Emergency number was answered! I witnessed ubiquitous MayorJoe Harris manning the barricades and Cllr Hodgkinson making a visit. After all his huffing and puffing last year and promises to actually forward Minutes of Meetings to Thames Water the Cotswold MP (for the second year running) was a no show.
Probably away at his country estate so he does not have to interact with the "Plebs" during their times of need.
[quote][p][bold]Olly Cromwell[/bold] wrote: Thames Water need to get their act together, but Cotswold District Council's bumbling bunkercrat Bob MacNally really does need a course in customer service skills if he is blaming residents on the verge of being flooded for not hanging on the line long enough before the Emergency number was answered! I witnessed ubiquitous MayorJoe Harris manning the barricades and Cllr Hodgkinson making a visit. After all his huffing and puffing last year and promises to actually forward Minutes of Meetings to Thames Water the Cotswold MP (for the second year running) was a no show.[/p][/quote]Probably away at his country estate so he does not have to interact with the "Plebs" during their times of need. Iansky
  • Score: 4

11:28am Sun 12 Jan 14

David Broad says...

It is good to see CDC Councillor Joe Harris helping with the emergency work, but perhaps residents should ask Joe with his CTC and GCCr hats on why no solutions to the restrictions on the flow of the River Churn which cause this flooding have been implemented by CTC who own much of the watercourse or by GCC who own the inadequate bridges.
Heavy rain every few months should constitute an emergency, Cheltenham has its flood prevention measures on the Chelt which seem to work so why not Cirencester?
Maybe its the EAs fault for not taking GCC and CTC to task over their failures?
It is good to see CDC Councillor Joe Harris helping with the emergency work, but perhaps residents should ask Joe with his CTC and GCCr hats on why no solutions to the restrictions on the flow of the River Churn which cause this flooding have been implemented by CTC who own much of the watercourse or by GCC who own the inadequate bridges. Heavy rain every few months should constitute an emergency, Cheltenham has its flood prevention measures on the Chelt which seem to work so why not Cirencester? Maybe its the EAs fault for not taking GCC and CTC to task over their failures? David Broad
  • Score: 2

11:35am Tue 14 Jan 14

Ian, Brissle says...

Sadly, there are probably two reasons for the flooding. Maybe three. Apart from the sheer volume of rainfall of course, which nobody can control by engineering!
First, high volumes of rainfall upriver in the Churn catchment increases flow/run-off. That needs to be 'caught' in upstream riverside floodplains that act as a natural 'delay' to downstream flow. It does not stop the flow but reduces the peak volumes that do flow. This then allows the town drains to clear the water without backing up that causes the 'flood'.
Second, and this is an economic/therefore political decision, if farmers are motivated by farming subsidy and/or the prices of their product to cultivate what should really be retained as floodplain the consequence is there is now no upstream 'delay trap'. Maybe the local MP would take this on as an issue in Parliament - of course, maybe risking short term loss of votes to the farming lobby.
Third, and this is most certainly something CDC should consider, run-off from concreted over land for roads/biuldings,driv
eways almost instantly overwhelms town drainage whenever there is very heavy rainfall. In other words, again almost certainly an unpopular decision from the point of view of town land developers. CDC needs to be insistent that development includes soakaways within the overall area of all building developments. As well as taking on the capital works, in conjunction with Thames Water, to install high capacity storm drains.
Sadly, there are probably two reasons for the flooding. Maybe three. Apart from the sheer volume of rainfall of course, which nobody can control by engineering! First, high volumes of rainfall upriver in the Churn catchment increases flow/run-off. That needs to be 'caught' in upstream riverside floodplains that act as a natural 'delay' to downstream flow. It does not stop the flow but reduces the peak volumes that do flow. This then allows the town drains to clear the water without backing up that causes the 'flood'. Second, and this is an economic/therefore political decision, if farmers are motivated by farming subsidy and/or the prices of their product to cultivate what should really be retained as floodplain the consequence is there is now no upstream 'delay trap'. Maybe the local MP would take this on as an issue in Parliament - of course, maybe risking short term loss of votes to the farming lobby. Third, and this is most certainly something CDC should consider, run-off from concreted over land for roads/biuldings,driv eways almost instantly overwhelms town drainage whenever there is very heavy rainfall. In other words, again almost certainly an unpopular decision from the point of view of town land developers. CDC needs to be insistent that development includes soakaways within the overall area of all building developments. As well as taking on the capital works, in conjunction with Thames Water, to install high capacity storm drains. Ian, Brissle
  • Score: 4

12:57pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Col Mustard says...

What really does anyone expect. ? Thames Water , owned by an Australian Bank has greater priorities than its customers, their called shareholders ! So dividends get paid over public infrastructure. Least us not forget it was the same mob as the local MP belongs to that flogged off a public resource. So we end up where we are with a tax dodging, Aussie owned bunch of liars....
Quote from Thames Water

"A spokesman for Thames Water said: “We have not paid much corporation tax in recent years because the government’s tax system allows us to delay, not avoid, payment of tax based on how much we invest. "

Thanks very much Dave and Geoffers..........
ps This is not from a Labour or Libdem author just someone sick and tired of thieving,lying,self centered ego maniac "elected poiticians"
What really does anyone expect. ? Thames Water , owned by an Australian Bank has greater priorities than its customers, their called shareholders ! So dividends get paid over public infrastructure. Least us not forget it was the same mob as the local MP belongs to that flogged off a public resource. So we end up where we are with a tax dodging, Aussie owned bunch of liars.... Quote from Thames Water "A spokesman for Thames Water said: “We have not paid much corporation tax in recent years because the government’s tax system allows us to delay, not avoid, payment of tax based on how much we invest. " Thanks very much Dave and Geoffers.......... ps This is not from a Labour or Libdem author just someone sick and tired of thieving,lying,self centered ego maniac "elected poiticians" Col Mustard
  • Score: 2

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