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29 October 2014

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We love... the East Coast

You are in: North Yorkshire > We love NY > We love... the East Coast > What's the answer to Filey's flooding?

Man rescues girl from flood water

What's the answer to Filey's flooding?

Attempts are underway to try and find ways to prevent the flash flooding which has affected parts of Filey over the last few years. Scores of people have been affected, most recently in July 2007.

"Horrendous" and "indescribable" are just two of the words used by people in Filey when they think of the impact and aftermath of flash floods in the town. The town has been flooded regularly since 2000, most recently on July 18th 2007.

Flood water pours over Filey sea wall

Flood water pours over Filey sea wall

Despite the town's location, on one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in Yorkshire, it's not water from the sea which is causing difficulties in the town. Its problems come from water which runs off surrounding agricultural land after heavy and sustained periods of rain.

On July 18th around 100 homes were affected after a torrential downpour caused widespread chaos and cut off the town. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received more than 80 phone calls in the space of a couple of hours from people asking for help. Roads became impassable as schools, homes, businesses and caravan sites were flooded. In some cases the water was more than three feet deep.

At Filey school, students had to be rescued from its swimming pool as water swept into the building from the surrounding countryside. Elsewhere, the town's inshore lifeboat was called out to help reach people who'd been stranded in their homes.

Landslip caused by flooding

Landslip caused by flooding

An emergency shelter was set up as around 50 homes were evacuated - including 30 elderly people who had to be moved from flats on Chapel Court after a roof collapsed.

It was the second time in as many months the town had been affected. Everyone has their own story. "Just somebody, do something" pleads Margaret Blyth who had around nine inches of water in her home in July. All her carpets and furniture were ruined. On an earlier occasion it was a foot and a half deep.

Another man, who didn't want to be named, told BBC Radio York he had  two and a half feet of water in his bungalow this time around, but it had been three and a half feet deep during an earlier flood. He says the misery it causes is "indescribable." He's had two cars written off on these two separate occasions "think of what you've got and you've not got it anymore."

Flooding in Filey

Flood water in Filey

At the Downcliffe House Hotel, on the seafront, Liz Booth says it's been "absolutely horrendous. It came in down our back garden, we were knee deep in water in the kitchen, dining room and bar." The hotel has  been closed throughout what should have been a busy summer period and its owners hope to be able to re-open at the start of December so they don't let down people who have made bookings for Christmas parties.

Lorraine Gill, who is the headteacher of Filey School, says it could be Christmas before the repair work is finished. Like the school and the hotel, the worst affected homeowners are likely to be out of their properties for several months, with some not expecting to be back in by the end of the year.

Scarborough Borough Council is now working with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the County Council to try and find a way forward. Jim Dillon, the Council's Chief Executive, says they want to know exactly what happened and how people were affected.

Helpless to stop the flood water

Helpless to stop the flood water

"We want to gather as much information as possible to make sure we can map out exactly what's happened - get information from each of the residents to say this is what happened to me,  this is how it affected me - and we can use that information to certainly bid for funding but also to make good some preventative measures for the future."

In early September 2007, the Duke of Gloucester visited Filey to see for himself the extent of the damaged caused by the flooding. Scarborough Councillor Mike Cockerill, who is a member of the Filey Flood Group and who met the Duke says everyone is working to try and find a solution.

"It won't happen overnight certainly. Whether it's a case of improving the drains - Yorkshire Water do have some plans to do some minor works of about a million pounds - but the main thing really is trying to prevent the run off of water from the agricultural land from entering the drains, which are woefully inadequate."

Others say one idea which could alleviate the situation is to dig a big ditch around the town which they believe would catch the run off before it reaches people's homes and then channel it into the sea.

last updated: 03/10/07

You are in: North Yorkshire > We love NY > We love... the East Coast > What's the answer to Filey's flooding?

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