Outraged residents of Thornton and Cleveleys demand action after flooding chaos threatens homes once again

Bridgewater Avenue in Anchorsholme - properties at risk as water levels rise. Credit: Lynn O'Connor
Bridgewater Avenue in Anchorsholme - properties at risk as water levels rise. Credit: Lynn O'Connor
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Angry residents of Thornton and Cleveleys have demanded action from Lancashire County Council and United Utilities after heavy rainfall caused treacherous levels of flooding over the weekend.

The rainfall on Sunday, September 29 resulted in dangerous levels of surface water across the towns, and now furious residents are demanding answers from authorities after feeling they were left with no help, and companies were "passing blame between each other" amidst serious flooding.

Cars struggled to drive down Northumberland Avenue in Cleveleys. Credit: Pam Holt

Cars struggled to drive down Northumberland Avenue in Cleveleys. Credit: Pam Holt

Earlier last week, many gullies in the areas were reported to be blocked, despite continuous efforts from the public to keep drains clear of leaves and debris on the surface.

In 2017, severe flooding in the area caused road and school closures, and extensive damage to some properties - leading to evacuations and temporary housing in some cases.

Now people are terrified that more heavy rain will result in the same outcome, and are demanding a response to the high levels of surface water from Lancashire County Council (LCC) and United Utilities (UU.)

Rosa Barker said: "We were flooded in 2017 too and rain always brings a lot of anxiety. I was on the phone to all the services earlier, but they were no help at all."

Woodlands Avenue in Thornton was also at risk with increasingly high levels of surface water yesterday afternoon. Credit: Jason Stirzaker

Woodlands Avenue in Thornton was also at risk with increasingly high levels of surface water yesterday afternoon. Credit: Jason Stirzaker

Residents were troubled that there seemed to be no way of preventing the rising levels of water, after many took to calling authorities in a desperate bid to seek help.

An online "flood action group" was eventually created in an attempt to assist each other, which gathered over 800 members in just a few hours.

Another worried resident, Barbara Levs said: "The drainage of the entire borough is bad.

"Just shopping in Cleveleys on Friday needed wellingtons because of huge puddles on the pavements alone...mostly because they are badly engineered and uneven pavements with no camber or drainage.

"The gutters were flooded because they were both uneven, having no fall ..and the drains/grids were blocked."

Residents are now awaiting answers from local councillors and authorities about plans to prevent further flooding chaos in the future.

In response to the floods, Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: "I'll be making contact with the agencies responsible to ensure everything possible was done to guard against flooding.

"I'm frustrated the delays in Lancashire County Council delivering its Section 19 report from the November 2017 incident have held back efforts to improve local infrastructure.

"We need to identify pinch points in the system and ensure there is capacity to deal with heavy rainfall. I will continue to press for the report to be published and for improvements to be delivered."

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We understand people's concerns about flooding, particularly if they've previously been affected, and are working with communities to investigate the causes, and mitigate the impact of any future incidents.

"We have published a report outlining our initial findings into the impacts and causes of the flooding in November 2017 when prolonged heavy rainfall overwhelmed surface water drainage systems and local watercourses in Thornton-Cleveleys.

"We’re continuing to work with partners to conduct a major review of options to increase capacity within the local catchments, for increasing capacity of formal drainage systems and to increase attenuation within the catchment to slow the flow.

"We carry out cyclic maintenance of highway gullies, with those most at risk of becoming blocked or contributing towards flooding being cleared more regularly.

"Surface water can remain for some time following heavy rain such as we experienced this week due to drainage systems being temporarily full, however if it has not drained away some hours later we would ask people to let us know so that we can investigate.

"We will inspect the locations where issues have been reported, however would ask people use our online Report It tool to provide as much information as they can about any issues observed this week. If anyone has experienced flooding of property we would ask them to report this by calling 0300 1236780 so that we can investigate."

A spokesman for United Utilities said: "We are aware of flooding in the Thornton-Cleveleys area, following extreme rainfall over the weekend.

"We have extra resources out and are working with the Lead Local Flooding Authority and other agencies who play a role in drainage to minimise the impact of this adverse weather as much as possible.

"We will and are supporting any customer impacted by flooding from the sewer network which we have responsibility for.

"Ultimately the council as the Lead Local Flood Authority will carry out a full investigation, which we will support to ensure all issues are investigated thoroughly.”