Cleveleys woman gets answers from Wyre Council on why town suffers worse floods than other areas - this is what she found out

After torrential rain flooded much of Cleveleys on Monday (June 27), one resident sought answers from the local council. This is what she found out...

By Matthew Calderbank
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 10:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 10:50 am

Why did Cleveleys suffer worse flooding than other areas? Was it to do with the drainage system? What about the pump stations, were they used? And what can we do to prevent it happening again?

These were the answers that community champion Jane Littlewood – publisher of Visit Cleveleys and chair of Cleveleys Coastal Community Team – was eager to find out.

After picking the brain of an engineer at Wyre Council, Jane, 52, got her answers and relayed her findings to fellow residents with an illuminating post on her group’s Facebook page Care for Cleveleys, which she has kindly shared with our readers.

Flooding Cross Way, Cleveleys on Monday (June 27)

This is what Jane found out...

She said: “I've just had a long conversation with one of the engineers at Wyre Council and it's a very complicated story - not because anyone is trying to cover it up but because of how the drainage system works. Sitting comfortably?

“Then I shall begin...

“So, the gist of it is that our landfall and sewerage systems are a hotch-potch of separate and combined systems. Some drain to the treatment plant at Fleetwood, some to an outfall pipe across the road from Asda at Fleetwood (yes really!).

Flooding in Westbourne Road, Fleetwood on Monday (June 27)

“And really extreme overflow goes onto the beach at the tank traps near Rossall School, and yes some does go via the pumping station at Anchorsholme.

- Rossall School to South Square is a combined drain (rain & foul) that goes straight to the treatment plant at Fleetwood.

- Rainwater from South of Rough Lea Road goes to the pumping station at Anchorsholme

- Surface water from north of Beach Road goes to the Asda outfall/tank traps

The Care for Cleveleys team are looking for more volunteers. Can you lend a hand? Pic credit: Care for Cleveleys

- The landward side of the tram tracks/North Drive goes to Asda/tank traps

- Eastern areas over the tramway go to watercourses in Thornton

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“Most of it is gravity drained and you don't need me to tell you we are low lying! Pumps are used to assist when conditions are excessive/at high tide etc.

“And yes, the pumps are automatic! I thought it was absurd if they'd spent all the hundreds of millions they have that it relied on a guy in a flat cap to flick a switch.

“And yes they were all working on Monday morning - at Chatsworth, Anchorsholme and the landfall drain at the tank traps/Rossall beach.

“In fact, almost all of the areas affected on Monday (June 27) in Cleveleys don't drain through Anchorsholme pumping station at all. It should all have gone out via the Asda outfall at Fleetwood.

So why did we end up with all that flooding?

Jane said: “Simply, because there was too much rain for the system to cope with. I heard it at 5am and it was like a fireman’s hose, it was so heavy. In excess of 32mm an hour were recorded and that carried on for 3 hours.

“Normal highways drainage systems are designed to cope with 1 in 30 year conditions and today was in excess of a 1 in 30 year event.

“There's no way that drainage could be built to cope with everything - just like we will never have seawalls which will prevent all instances of flooding.”

What can we do for next time?

She added: “It looks like the scientists are right and global warming is making this kind of event more frequent,” said Jane.

"I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to move so the alternative is to be prepared.

"Having a porous garden (i.e. not solid concrete/tarmac etc) enables a lot of water to drain away. Clear the weeds away in front of your house, pick litter up when you see it blowing about.

"Apparently the drains are cleared but weeds, sand and litter will quickly block them again.

"Join the Flood groups - Thornton Cleveleys Flood Watch and others like it. Wyre engineers are happy to organise trips to pumping stations if you want to understand more fully.

"I think I've explained it simply, and as it was told to me. I asked for feedback (thank you Wyre Council) and promised I would pass it on but if you've got any queries please ask.”

Volunteers wanted

Can you spare a hand? The Care for Cleveleys group is looking for more volunteers to help keep the town tidy, clean and welcoming for residents and visitors alike.

Jane said: “We weed, look after the planters/town centre flower beds, improve what we can where we can, and there's loads we'd like to do if only we could get more people to help.

"The aim is to attract people to the town and keep it vibrant in the future. We’re working together, taking ownership and responsibility for where we live and work. It’s really making a difference – why don’t you get involved?”

If you’d like to lend a hand and do your bit for Cleveleys, you can message Jane via the Care for Cleveleys Facebook group or email [email protected]

What is Care for Cleveleys?

In 2017, Wyre Council had the opportunity to apply for a £10,000 grant and Jane Littlewood worked with them on the successful bid to create a new Coastal Community Team.

The purpose of the Team is to find out what's great about Cleveleys and do more of it, and find out what needs improving and do that too.

It's about making sure that the town survives and thrives for the future. It's also where lots of little kind actions by individuals add up to an impressive whole. It might be picking up litter, sweeping a path, pulling up a weed - or a big joint community venture like when the Team restored the clock shelter together.

The project is Chaired by Jane Littlewood, publisher of Visit Cleveleys and you can read more about the project here.