Derby

Whaley Bridge dam: Some residents refuse to move

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Media captionWhaley Bridge resident says he is not evacuating despite damaged dam

Some Whaley Bridge residents are defying authorities and refusing to leave their homes following the collapse of a part of a dam wall.

Andrew McLackland, who has lived in the town for nine years, described the move to evacuate 1,500 people as "health and safety gone mad".

He is one of a number of people who are ignoring police warnings.

Derbyshire Police said: "A handful of residents are refusing to move and there is a risk to life".

Mr McLackland, who lives on Buxton Road, said he did not believe the Toddbrook Reservoir would breach, despite officials fearing the town could be swamped if the wall continues to crumble.

"I don't think it will go. It's a fuss about nothing," he said.

Image caption Hanna Sillitoe says the decision to stay was "really difficult"

Hanna Sillitoe, who lives in the nearby hamlet of Buxworth, decided to do her usual morning jog in to the village after being woken up by the Chinook overhead.

She expected to be stopped by police at some point but found herself in the heart of the deserted evacuation zone and admitted she stayed for about 30 minutes "out of curiosity".

"It's really bizarre, it's abandoned," she said. "Usually at that time it's buzzing, the coffee shops are opening and people are going to school. But it felt deserted"

But when a police van spotted her, said the officer seemed angry she had been able to get in, asking colleagues on the radio to secure the path.

She said she was then told she could be arrested if she did not get in their van to take her home, and that she needed to evacuate her house.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police have warned people to stay away from the dam

But she has no plans to leave her home either and described the advice she had received from authorities as "conflicting".

"At the moment the Environment Agency say we are in the orange zone so there's a warning to be prepared," she said.

"Nobody's put any cordons in place where we are and nobody's come down knocking on doors. Sometimes it comes down to personal judgement. We have livestock and animals here to feed; eight sheep and three horses.

"We don't know how long people are going to be evacuated for. At the moment, our personal judgement is that we are staying."

On Friday, authorities moved a group of people who had gathered by the reservoir to take photographs and selfies.

A Derbyshire Police spokesperson said: "Officers have strongly advised people to leave their homes because there is a risk to life.

"We are not taking legal action... but we are advising them to go to a place of safety."


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