Storm Christoph: Flooded Northwich retirement village residents rescued

image copyrightReuters
image captionFirefighters used boats to rescue the residents and take them to a nearby hotel

Dozens of pensioners at a retirement village were stranded by flooding caused by Storm Christoph.

Residents and staff from Weaver Court in Northwich, Cheshire, were rescued by firefighters and taken to a nearby hotel in boats.

The village was surrounded by floodwater and had been without power since Wednesday evening.

Homes near Lymm were also among those flooded by the River Mersey with "no way of stopping the water".

Earlier, Northwich councillor Sam Naylor said there was some concern about elderly residents and those with dementia, but said the 49 residents and staff at Weaver Court were "safe and in good spirits".

Neighbourhood policing inspector Jason Murray said people were taken to a leisure centre before being moved on to alternative accommodation.

He said it was necessary to evacuate residents of Weaver Court "for their own safety and principally because the electricity to the premises has had to be isolated because of rising water levels".

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The company which runs Weaver Court, First Port, earlier said it was working with Cheshire West and Chester Council to "safely evacuate residents to a nearby hotel".

The same area was flooded after heavy rainfall in November 2019 but the retirement village was evacuated before it struck.

The council had planned to evacuate another retirement village nearby, Marbury Court, but later said residents were being supported to stay in their accommodation.

McCarthy Stone, which runs Marbury Court, said it was assisting residents and their families.

image copyrightReuters
image captionFirefighters help evacuate a man in Northwich
image copyrightReuters
image captionResidents had been stranded and without power since Wednesday

Severe flood warnings - meaning there is a risk to life - remain in place for the River Bollin at Heatley, the River Bollin and Agden Brook at Little Bollington and the River Dee at Farndon.

The Environment Agency said it was working with the council and United Utilities to get floodwater in Northwich "back into the river".

The Cheshire town lies at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane.

A spokeswoman said the issue was now one of "surface water", which it was working to pump back into the waterway.

Cyril Lewis, who lives on Queen Street in Northwich, said he was worried about flooding as water outside his home continued to rise.

"I'm 77 and my wife's 80 so we won't be able to move stuff upstairs. Someone gave me two sandbags and the council have said they'll get me some more," he said.

"I haven't known it flood like this for 56 years."

image copyrightSam Naylor
image captionA total of 49 residents and staff were marooned inside Weaver Court

Meanwhile, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued 21 people by boat from Lea Court nursing home in Warrington.

It said it had attended 134 incidents between 07:00 GMT on Wednesday and 07:00 on Thursday and were continuing to be called out.

Cheshire Police said flooding and snow continued to affect the county on Thursday evening and many roads were affected.

"Only travel if absolutely essential, and do not attempt to drive through floodwater," a spokesman said.

Supt Julie Westgate said a number of residents had been evacuated in Warrington, Northwich, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Tattenhall.

image copyrightReuters
image captionA car on a flooded street after the River Weaver burst its banks in Northwich
image copyrightPA Media
image captionGabrielle Burns-Smith said the flooding "happened so quick"

Gabrielle Burns-Smith's home on the outskirts of Lymm has been flooded.

"It's awful and it happened so quick that there was just no way of stopping it," she said.

"We just did our best. Everybody helped, all the businesses nearby.

"So much water has come down and it's tough."

image copyrightReuters
image captionPeople stacked sandbags at entrances to properties in Northwich
image copyrightCheshire Fire
image captionFirefighters have rescued people from their flooded homes across Cheshire

Merseyrail said services on the Chester and Ellesmere Port line were disrupted because of flooding, with bus replacement services running.

Northwich Fireplace Centre said it had been a "terrible morning for our business again" after flooding in the town centre.

Police said Town Bridge was closed due to rising waters and asked people to avoid Northwich town centre.

Warrington Borough Council said the flooding in some areas on Wednesday night was "beyond any levels previously recorded".

image copyrightReuters
image captionBusinesses were flooded in Northwich town centre

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