After Cleveleys flooding, United Utilities says its waterworks systems were working "as designed"

Residents in parts of Cleveleys say they are wary every time there is heavy rain, following the latest floods to hit the town this week.

By Richard Hunt
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 3:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:13 pm

On Cross Way, off Thornton Gate in Cleveleys, the police had to block off one junction as the road became a river following torrential rain on Monday morning.

Residents saw their gardens covered in water and some watched anxiously as it came perilously close to pouring into their homes – just the latest flooding incident to occur within the past decade.

Carl and Liz Giles have lived on Cross Way for 12 years and have seen four severe flooding incidents in that time.

Flooding on Northumberland Avenue, Cleveleys on Monday June 27

Liz said: “It was a close call this time – the water came literally within a few millimetres of coming in under the front door.

"It was obviously an anxious time as we watched the water getting higher and higher.

"There just seems to be more rain at the moment and this street always seems to be affected.”

Carl said: “Because of the way our electrics are set up, it affects that as well.

Coun Emma Ellison raised the issue of drain maintenance

"When the rain starts coming down heavily, we always worry we might get it again – and this will happen again.”

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Another resident on the street, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’ve lived in this house for about 55 years and we always used to get a bit of flooding at the end of the street, but it’s getting much worse than it used to be.”

This time there was also serious flooding on Northumberland Avenue, the Cleveleys Park area, nearby Leicester Gate, as well as Crescent West and, at the other end of town Westbourne Avenue close to Rossall School.

Cross Way in Cleveleys as the flood water starts to subside on Monday (June 27)

In Thornton, the post office on Fleetwood Road North had to close on Monday, while further north, Cardinal Allen Catholic High School Fleetwood had to close for the day as well.

On social media, several residents say infrequent clearing of drain gullies by road authority Lancashire County Council is leading to blocked drains being unable to cope with heavy rain, while others question whether there is an issue with the local pumping stations.

But United Utilities says there is misleading information being posted on social media about the pumping stations failing.

A spokesman for the utilities firm said: “The area is served by a complex, interconnected drainage system and a number of agencies are involved.

"Our sewer network is now monitored by sensors that are helping us understand its performance and initial findings show that it worked as designed.

“We will continue to work with the Lead Local Flood Authority and the other agencies involved to investigate further.”

Coun Emma Ellison, who represents Bourn ward in Thornton, said: “I was contacted by a few anxious constituents.

"The flooding issues in Cleveleys and Thornton do seem to be getting worse.

"You can’t stop the rain but the drains do not seen to be getting cleaned as frequently as they used to be.

"That can’t help and maybe Lancashire County Council might consider more frequent cleaning programmes.”

Coun Ellison added that Wyre Council needed to provide councillors with a coordinated flood response so that they were ready to provide key information to concerned constituents in the event of flooding.

She said: “We need to have that ready, because some people are looking to councillors to be able to provide them with details they need.

"Unfortunately we are getting more rain and this is happening more often.”

The latest heavy rain caused flooding on a number of roads in the area and Blackpool Transport had to divert some of its services on Monday, including service 3 due to severe flooding at Cleveleys Park.

Back in late September 2019, angry residents of Thornton and Cleveleys demanded action from Lancashire County Council and United Utilities after heavy rainfall caused treacherous levels of flooding.

The rainfall resulted in dangerous levels of surface water across the towns, and furious residents demanded answers from authorities after feeling they were left with no help, and companies were “passing blame between each other” amidst serious flooding.

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 November 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.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "Our local highways team was part of a multi-agency response to the surface water flooding in Cleveleys, with a gully tanker attending to ensure that the highways drains were working so that the water could drain away, and our team also temporarily closing some roads for safety.

"We clean highways gullies on a cyclic basis, with those most at risk of becoming blocked due to their particular location being cleaned more often, however we didn't find any issues with gullies in Cleveleys which would have contributed to yesterday's flooding.

"We would ask people to provide any photos and information of the extent of the flooding, by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300-123-6780 so that we have as much information as possible to inform any future investigations. You can report a blocked drain via Report It on our website, calling 0300-123-6780 or using the Love Clean Streets app on your phone."