Clean-up under way once again after River Severn flooding

Homes and businesses left counting the cost for second year running.

The clean-up is under way for homes and business affected after the River Severn burst its banks for the second time in less than a year.

Bewdley was one of many towns and villages along the river to experience flooding as the extreme weather saw river levels rise and the banks burst.

The burst saw homes along the banks flooded, marking the second time in a year that members of the community were subjected to flood water breaching their homes.

David Hegarty is one of many who has suffered from the two incidents of flooding, saying that he hadn’t been able to start the restoration work from 2020 due to Covid restrictions.

The river at the front of the cottage

He said: “The house, which is 60 metres from the river, was flooded on the ground floor and because of all the restrictions on the various sectors of the construction industry, we can’t start any work.”

The 54-year-old said the experiences of the previous year, while traumatic in the impact they had on the home, had helped him, his wife and two children to be better prepared for any flooding.

He said: “We now have barriers on all the outside doors and we also had multiple pumps pumping out the water.

“Also, in anticipation of the flooding, I’d order a large number of optical high volume air blowers to dry out the house, and we had raised all our furniture off the floor.

“Our dishwasher is damaged beyond repair and we’ve had to throw out the carpet, but we’re in a much better place than we were a year ago.”

Kerry in her living room

Mr Hegarty said there had also been a lot of help from the community and he also spoke about the promises the local MP had made regarding installing flood defences.

He said: “Lots of people have offered to help those affected by the flooding and we’ve received a lot of support from the Environment Agency and our MP Mark Garnier.

“He came to see the impact of the flooding and said he was committed to ensuring we have permanent barriers installed on this side of the river.

Pumps work to remove the remaining water at the back of the property

“The projected timescale was for 2023, but he has said he will do what he can to get this done sooner and the building of which will be an excellent solution.

“The community has really pulled together, with the local pub providing food and drinks for everyone as an example, and it’s nice to know people genuinely care about each other.”

Another homeowner has described the devastation to her home, after it was flooded for the second time in less than 12 months.

Kerry Ann Lewis, who works as a personal trainer and nutrition adviser, has lived in her home on Severn Side in Stourport since 2016 with her partner Brent Beadle.

Kerry, 43, said: “Water started to ingress our home at around 3.30am in the morning on Saturday, 23 and continued to do so until 9pm last night Sunday.

The view over the flood barrier on the front door..

“We have damage to walls, floors, skirting boards, personal items and furniture and sofas throughout downstairs. We tried to move sentimental items out of the way to upstairs rooms.

“The last flood cost around £30,000 to fix and replace items and likely to be a similar amount again, for our neighbours some higher costs than that as much as £90,000 in costs to repair and return their properties.

“None of this takes into account the physical and emotional stress of the flooding causes.

“To be hit again just 11 months after is devastating.

“We were in a hotel when the first lockdown happened following the floods, and it took months to recover and get back inside our home.

“Our neighbours took even longer and three of them still not fully recovered from the flood damage that was caused.

“In February 2020 we were told this was a one in 20 year event, clearly it wasn’t.”

David Hegarty's house, the timber framed one at the back, is just 60 metres from the banks of the Severn and has been flooded twice in a year

Kerry is demanding the local authority and Environment Agency act now to prevent any further flooding happening in the future.

She added: “We feel totally let down and forgotten about, the main focus is always around the larger towns such as Bewdley just up the river from us.

“We never get checked once and aren’t on any emergency check plan to ensure we are safe.

“The problem we have is that once we are hit here it gets us from all four sides, the only way out is through the back car park area in waders or being rescued, which happened to our neighbour twice.

“Flooding is very scary to go through especially when you are here inside the house, have little means of escape and want to protect your home as well.

“We have asked the local authority and environment agency to look at some simple measures, such as increasing the size of the bunt field top to decrease risks to homes.

“We feel that these measures, and dredging of the rivers in key areas periodically, could decrease the flood events and risk along the River Severn as all it has taken is one big storm and we are hit again.”

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