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floods - News, Articles and Events

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Princess Royal to visit Tewkesbury on Friday 18th January

Features by Adam No Comments »

The Princess Royal plans to make a quick 1 hour working visit to Tewkesbury to show support for residents who are being affected by the floods.

The Princess will arrive at the Canterbury Inn, Ashchurch Road in Newtown, Tewkesbury, on Friday 18th January where the Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Mr Henry Elwes will present: the Councillor for Newton, Graham Dawson; Town Clerk, Major Michael Wilson; Chairman of Tewkesbury Chamber of Commerce, Mr Bruce Keen; Captain, 1st Tewkesbury Company Boys Brigade, Mr Andrew Baldwin.

Previously in July 2007 the Princess Royal visited residents from Gloucester whose homes were flooded last year. N.B. If there is further flooding tomorrow in the area the Princess Royal may cancel the visit to enable recovery work to take place.

Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Gloucestershire Highways – Adverse Weather Bulletin

Features by Adam No Comments »

Updated: 13.30pm 17th Jan

Severe Weather Warning from the Met Office (Issued at 10:22 on Thursday, 17th January 2008, valid from 06:00 on Friday, 18th January 2008 until 23:00 on Saturday, 19th January 2008):

Early Warning of Heavy Rain

Regional risk assessment for the following areas
- Wales(60%)
- NW England(40%)
- SW England(40%)
- All other regions less than 20%

The Met Office is expecting rain to become persistent and be heavy across parts of Wales during Friday and Saturday. The largest rainfall totals are expected over higher, exposed ground to the west, where accumulations of up to 100 mm are possible by the end of Saturday. In view of the already saturated ground, localised flooding is likely and there could be some disruption to transport networks. Heavy bursts of rain will occur over other western areas, but accumulations are expected to be lower, with less risk of disruption. There is a risk that rain may persist into Sunday, but confidence on this aspect is low. Updates will provide further information. This warning will be updated by 11:00 am Friday morning.

However, our own weather provider has looked at the weather models and predict about 58mm to 60mm in Wales for this period, and about 25mm of rain for Gloucestershire.  We will continue to closely monitor the situation and are very mindful of the impact that rain in Wales will have on our own river levels

Today: showery.  Possible heavy squalls this afternoon.  Dry overnight
Friday: bands of drizzle giving a few mm of rain
Saturday: rain over Wales were the majority of rain will fall, though we will have some showers.
Sunday: possible rain.

Road Closures:

East: No major roads are closed

West: B4213 near Turley; Northway Lane, Tewkesbury; Walton Cardiff; A48 to Flaxley; Lydbrook; B4228

Central:  No major road are closed

Hot Spots (these roads are currently passable but with care):

East: All major routes now clear.

West: Other major routes are clear

Central: Prestbury: High Street, Noverton Lane, Priors Road, New Barn Lane

Teams are continuing work across the network to clear debris and make safe any defects.  Jetters, sweapers and gully emptiers have also been deployed.

There is still a significant amount of surface water on the network and motorists should take care.  We would also like to re-iterate the need for motorists to be considerate of others and drive through areas where there is surface water at an appropriate speed.  Driving through these areas too fast creates a bow wave and this can have a potentially devastating impact on properties that may otherwise have not been affected by flooding.

Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Volunteer staff happy in new Moreton home

Features, Places by Adam No Comments »

Staff at the North Cotswold Voluntary Help Centre will continue to play a crucial role in Moreton in Marsh in 2008, thanks to a helping hand from Cotswold District Council.

The High Street branch of the NCVHC found itself under almost four feet of water after the July floods, but found temporary sanctuary at Cotswold District Council’s Moreton Area Centre.

Less than a week after the floods had hit the NCVHC offices – ruining computers, equipment and furnishings – they had moved into offices just down at the Centre in the High Street.

And although the NCVHC was insured against the damages, staff soon settled in their new location and it wasn’t long before they decided to make the arrangement permanent.  A tenancy agreement was signed in early December and the small team of staff now operates from a spacious office within the Moreton centre.

NCVHC chairman Chris Stevenson said:

“We needed to set ourselves up in temporary accommodation, and CDC did that for us within days – they were very helpful.

“Ultimately, this new location will work very well for us and it’s a very positive move for us to be making.”

The North Cotswold Voluntary Help Centre provides transport to anyone in the community who may need a lift somewhere, be it the doctors, dentist, hospital or an eye appointment, charging just 30p per mile for the service.

It is open from 9.30am–1.30pm five days a week and also offers advice and information, a shopping service for the house-bound, and a sitting service to offer respite to carers.

Anyone wanting to contact the service should phone them on 01608 651115.

The report on flooding in Chipping Campden, 20/21 July 2007

Chipping Campden Bulletin, Noticeboard by Adam No Comments »

(From the Chipping Campden Bulletin. Reproduced with kind permission of Jeremy Green)

Report by D J Atkinson

Preamble

Chipping Campden is peculiarly susceptible to flooding when prolonged heavy rain or sudden thaws occur in an already sodden catchment area. To a large extent this is due to the size and peculiar character of the catchment area, most of which drains into the river upstream of the Care Home and Guild site and Sheep Street It is also due to the confinement of The Cam’s channel and choke points through the town.

In the recent past, serious floods occurred in the wake of long periods of bad weather affecting the region usually in winter, 1947 and others, but also in July 1968. Park Road has suffered from lesser floods periodically, especially in the 50s and 60s, the last in spring 1993. Obviously drainage has become a much more concerning problem for the town over the last century and particularly over the last 50 years with much new building (spreading and infilling), property improvement, the raising of road levels and much more hard standing. The situation has also worsened due to changes in land use, farming methods and land drainage in the area. Read the rest of this entry »

Cotswold names day for leisure centre re-opening

Features by Adam No Comments »

Cirencester’s Cotswold Leisure Centre is due to re-open its doors to the public on March 1st following complex repairs to extensive flood damage, Cotswold District Council announced today.

The Centre’s plant room was damaged by 70,000 gallons of flood water after the unprecedented rainfall which hit Gloucestershire on July 20th. The building and its contents are fully insured and the Council is also insured for loss of revenue at the Centre.

A complex schedule of work and repairs, costing approximately £800,000, has followed a major clean-up operation and the Council and its insurers Royal and Sun Alliance have now named the date for re-opening, bar any unforeseen difficulties.

The Council’s Portfolio holder for Property & Benefits, Cllr Nick Parsons, said: “We fully appreciate that our members have now been without their leisure facilities in Cirencester for more than four months.

“We must not forget that this is a massive undertaking to rebuild the very heart of the centre requiring a great deal of complex work in a confined space.

“Our contractors EIC Ltd are working exceptionally hard to get the building open again and we are looking forward to welcoming members old and new on March 1st.”

Much of the plant room equipment that was ruined, including boilers, electrical systems, control panels and water filtration plant, is taking several months to replace and re-install due to the high-tech components required.

While the Centre has been closed, the Council has provided classes at local schools and offered members the use of its facilities at Tetbury, Fairford, Bourton and Chipping Campden at no charge.

The July flood was caused when road drainage was unable to cope with the rainfall and the subsequent overflow of a nearby lake.

Cllr Parsons added: “Thousands of buildings were affected by the floods and the Cotswold Leisure Centre was just one of them. The Council is satisfied that the building and its drainage meet the required standards for all but the most exceptional cases.

“However, we cannot be sure that there will not be a repeat of the unprecedented circumstances of July. As such, the Council has agreed to spend £100,000 on further flood prevention measures to further protect the Centre as best it can.”

In addition, Royal and Sun Alliance have engaged an expert hydrologist to report on water run-off and drainage outside the boundaries of the leisure centre.

The vast majority of Cotswold Leisure Centre’s staff have been re-deployed by the Council during the closure. Their new roles have included life guarding at the town’s open air pool, helping to collect flood-damaged furniture and providing extra help to cover holidays across Council teams, such as planning, printing, licensing, visitor information centres, housing and museums. Staff have also hosted roadshows around the District highlighting changes to the Council’s waste services.

Cotswold unveils plans for flood recovery grant

Features by Adam No Comments »

More than £540,000 will be spent by Cotswold District Council on helping to protect the District against future floods, it was announced today.

The Council’s Cabinet has agreed to spend the majority of its £623,000 Flood Recovery Grant on a range of measures to improve land drainage and assist towns and parishes to prepare for any future emergencies.

An estimated £75,000 of the money, awarded to the Council by the Government in the wake of the summer’s unprecedented rainfall, is already being awarded to vulnerable victims and residents forced to live in caravans or upstairs after their homes were flooded.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The clear message we have received from the community is that they want to see the grant spent on flood protection measures so that less distress and disruption is caused if the Cotswolds is hit by a similar event in future.

“However, I must stress that the money available to us is not going to go very far. We will lobby partner agencies such as the Environment Agency, water authorities and county council to play their part along with individual landowners.

“While the Council ‘polices’ land drainage it is not our legal responsibility to carry out work on water courses owned by other people. However, we do have the power to require the work to be done and if necessary take action to ensure it is carried out.

“In the past, we have often entered into an agreement with the owners and the county council to share the costs of such works. We currently have an annual budget of £35,000 to make such contributions. The decision taken today effectively uses some of the recovery grant to increase our ability to enter into such arrangements.

“We need to be mindful that this is public money and must be spent carefully – not used simply to meet other people’s obligations.”

The range of flood protection measures the Cabinet agreed to fund include:

  1. Between £25,000 and £60,000 by engaging a second drainage engineer to up to a year to help deal with the volume of work.
  2. £30,000 engaging consultants to identify land drainage problems and priorities
  3. £100,000 on identifying landowners and enforcing land drainage duties, working with partners such as the county council and Environment Agency
  4. £40,000 on carrying out strategic land drainage improvements
  5. £200,000 in grant funding for Town & Parish Councils to improve local flood resilience and plan for emergencies, up to a maximum of £10,000 per parish.
  6. £45,000 to help Town & Parish Councils develop their planning for emergencies, which includes employing an extra officer for one year to provide advice and support
  7. £1,500 on hosting Flood Protection Information sessions for Town & Parish Councils, with the Environment Agency.

After taking into account the payments to individuals, this leaves a contingency of just over £70,000 in case further funds are needed for the above projects.

Cllr Stowe added: “Although we only have a limited amount of money, we have got to make sure that our efforts result in some real work being carried out on the ground.

“We fully appreciate the distress caused to our residents by the events of the July and we want to do as much as we are able to future proof the District against flooding.”

Cotswold’s plea to PM over plans to move fire staff

Features by Adam No Comments »

Cotswold councillors have called on the Government to abandon plans to move Gloucestershire’s Fire Control staff to Taunton.

A meeting of Cotswold District Council backed a motion resolving to write to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, strongly urging a review of policy.

The motion, put forward by Cllr Deryck Nash and seconded by Cllr Sue Jepson, called upon all the MPs of the county to sign a petition on the 10 Downing Street website to save the Tri-Service Control at Quedgeley, near Gloucester.

Councillors fear that moving Fire Control staff to Somerset may have a serious impact on the speed and efficiency of emergency response in a rural area such as the Cotswolds.

Council and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The impressive response by the emergency services to the July floods shows how essential it is that fire control staff need to be working in close proximity to their police colleagues. This proposal to move them to Somerset simply makes no sense and we urge the Government to think again.”

The motion, which records the Council’s gratitude to all emergency services, military staff and volunteers who played a vital role during the summer floods, noted that the Audit Commission had warned that relocating fire control staff from the Tri-Service Centre would have a ‘major, negative impact.’

Councillor Peter Martin, Leader of the Independent Group, said: “This move may save money – but it will cost lives. It is essential that local knowledge is retained because it speeds up the response times and accuracy with which the emergency services can be directed.”

Cllr Nash, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “I am delighted that the motion received all-party support from District Councillors. Relocating the fire control staff to Taunton would be a major setback to community safety in the Cotswolds.

“I would urge the people of the District to get behind their Council and lobby the Prime Minister by signing the petition on the Number 10 website today.”

The petition may be viewed at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/TriService/ and closes on February 9th 2008.

Cotswold offers pay-out for flood victims

Features by Adam No Comments »

Ebrington Floods 1Cotswold residents who were forced to move upstairs or into a caravan after the July floods are being urged to get in touch with the District Council to apply for a payment from its recovery grant fund.

The Council has decided to help residents in this position in recognition of the distress and disruption they have suffered since the events of July 20th.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The residents of the Cotswolds affected by the floods have shown great fortitude and community spirit. We would like to make a gesture from our Government grant to help those people whose lives have been turned upside down by recent events.”

The Council has already made payments to vulnerable individuals from the £623,000 Flood Recovery Grant it received from the Government in the wake of the emergency and is considering helping community facilties damaged by the floods.

It also hopes to put some of the grant funding towards flood resilience measures and is working with town and parish councils, the Environment Agency, water authorities and the County Council to see what may be done.

More than 1,000 homes and businesses were flooded in the Cotswold District – the worst affected areas included Chipping Campden, Weston Sub Edge, Moreton-in-Marsh, Blockley, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester, Fairford, Lechlade, Downington, Whelford, Kempsford, Barnsley, Andoversford, Adlestrop, Tetbury, Naunton, Northleach, The Ampneys, South Cerney, Aldsworth, Poulton, Barnsley, The Slaughters and Willersey.

Residents who have been or are living upstairs or in a caravan because of the July floods should call 01285 623033 for details of how to apply for a payment.

Cotswold District Council surveys flood-hit homes

Features by Adam No Comments »

Deadline looms for survey of flood-hit homes
Flood-hit homes and businesses in the Cotswolds are being urged to fill in a District Council survey form by October 22nd – if they have not already done so.

Together with other local authorities, Cotswold District Council began a door-to-door survey in August of properties affected by the July floods.

The aim of the survey was to assess the scale of the damage and to identify vulnerable people who may have required assistance to recover from the floods.

More than 800 forms have already been returned from Cotswold properties, but the Council wants to be sure it has heard from everyone who was affected.

The Council is using the information from the survey forms to help it plan for future potential flooding incidents and decide where its Flood Recovery Grant may be best spent.

More than £620,000 was awarded to Cotswold District Council by the Government in the wake of the emergency. The Council is spending part of the money helping those in priority need and is also planning to look at funding flood resilience measures for local communities.

Cotswold District Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “We believe that the majority of people whose homes were flooded in July have filled out a form.

“However, we are very keen to hear from anyone we may have missed or who may have received a form through their letterbox that they have not yet completed.

“We want to build up as clear a picture of the impact of the floods as possible. If we have accurate statistics it will help us to decide where best to spend our Flood Recovery Grant on flood prevention measures.”

To obtain a survey form, please contact Cotswold District Council on 01285 623000.

To apply for a grant from the Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund charity, please visit www.glosfloodrelief.org.

Cotswold leisure centre due to re-open early next year

Places by Adam No Comments »

Cotswold District Council said today that despite severe flood damage, the Cotswold Leisure Centre in Cirencester should be open early next year.

The Council, supported by its insurers Royal & SunAlliance and their contractors, is making every effort to get back up and running following the unprecedented rainfall that hit Gloucestershire last month.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment in the plant room was damaged by 70,000 gallons of flood water and must now be replaced in a complex work schedule expected to take a number of months. The building is fully insured.

The Council’s Portfolio holder for Property & Benefits, Cllr Nick Parsons, said: “We appreciate that customers want to know exactly when we will be re-opening. However, due to the scale and complexity of the damage, it is too early to name a date.”

The Council will be employing multiple contractors to deal with different aspects of the work, using a number of suppliers. It is anticipated that despite the complexity of the project, the leisure centre will re-open early next year. A more detailed timetable is currently being worked upon, and will be released when it is agreed.

A section of the car park will be fenced off to house a generator while contractors strip the plant room of all the damaged equipment over an expected period of four weeks. A major programme of replacement work will then begin.

While the Council and its insurers are doing everything they can to minimise the disruption, much of the equipment that needs replacing, including boilers, electrical systems, control panels and water filtration plant use high-tech components that will take several months to replace.

Cllr Parsons added: “This is a massive undertaking to rebuild the very heart of the centre and we must not under-estimate the volume of complex work involved in a confined space. We will be working with our contractors to get the building open again as soon as possible.

“We have written to our members, and will be rewarding them with three months’ free membership for their loyalty.

“In the meantime, alternative facilties are available at our centres at Chipping Campden, Tetbury, Fairford and Bourton and at the open air swimming pool in Cirencester. We will also be running a fitness programme at Kingshill School, thanks to the school’s co-operation.”

The vast majority of Cotswold Leisure Centre’s staff have been re-deployed by the Council during the closure. Their new roles include life guarding at the open air pool, helping to collect flood-damaged furniture and providing extra help to cover holidays across council teams, such as planning, printing, licensing, visitor information centres, housing and museums.

A number of staff have moved to the centres at Bourton and Fairford, or have been helping out with the Council’s summer sports coaching scheme.

Article included with kind permission of Cotswold District Council - www.cotswold.gov.uk

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