Horncastle residents demand action for protection from River Waring

Angry residents living near the River Waring in Horncastle are demanding action to stop their properties and businesses flooding.

They hit out at the monthly meeting of Horncastle Town Council last week, claiming no-one ‘gave a monkeys’ about their situation.

Tracey Collins, who owns the Seaview Antiques Centre off Stanhope Road, told councillors her property and business was flooded by up to a foot of water last month.

Other residents confirmed their properties had also flooded with one man revealing it had caused his house sale to fall through, three days before the completion date.

Their comments come after millions of pounds were spent on flood defences on the River Bain to the north of Horncastle.

Councillors have praised those defences for protecting the town during last month’s storms.

However, the residents say nothing has been done regarding protection from the River Waring which also flows through the town.

They claimed they were being ‘discriminated against’ and hit out at the councillor’s previous comments, saying they ‘should not pat themselves in the back.’

Mrs Collins told councillors: “From reading the papers and listening to conversations, councillors seem to think that no-one in the town was flooded.

“I can assure you that we (Seaview Antiques) did get flooded.

“Other properties flooded. We want some answers and some action.”

Mrs Collins went on to reveal that after last month’s floods, she had worked on a report with town councillor Richard Barker.

She also said she had spoken to town and county councillor Bill Aron but nothing had been done.

Mrs Collins added she and other residents had experienced the same response from devastating floods almost ten years ago which prompted the defences on the Bain.

She added: “On June 12 last month, our property and business were seriously flooded, under a foot of water.

“I have taken all the steps I can to report this to the Environment Agency, the county council and Coun Aron.

“I have drawn up a report with the help of Coun Barker who is helping to get this matter resolved.

“I have some serious questions and I would like this council’s assurance that something will be done.”

The town’s deputy mayor Coun Angela Birchall – who chaired the meeting in the absence of Coun Fiona Martin – said: “We are very sorry to hear about this.

“We are following the line of emails.

“The Bain did its job.”

Her comments brought a stinging response from another resident at the meeting.

He said: “No it hasn’t.

“It might have saved the centre of town but it was also supposed to stop the Waring backing up but that did not happen.

“It did back up. It did flood.”

Coun Birchall replied: “We are very sorry. We are very pleased the town did not flood.”

The resident countered: “Excuse me but we live in the town.

“We did flood, but not from the Bain so we are being discriminated against.

“Don’t pat yourself on the back. We get flooded and you don’t give a monkeys.”

Mrs Collins and several residents said it was the second time the area had flooded in recent years.

They confirmed residents wanted a meeting with all the agencies involved, including the county council, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and the local drainage board.

Mrs Collins said she had been promised such a meeting by Coun Aron but had heard nothing since.

She added: “We want someone to take notice that the Waring needs some sort of protection further up the river so that we don’t get flooded.”

Coun Aron said following his intervention, the county council had taken over as the ‘lead organisation’ in investigating the Waring flooding.

He added a delay and a lack of communication may have been caused by Mrs Collins being advised to contact the EA, ahead of the county council.

Residents said it was confusing which organisation was responsible and who they should contact.

However, Coun Aron said everything would ‘become clearer’ after a meeting with residents – and the investigation.

He added while the Bain defences had made a huge difference, there were no resources for similar measures on the Waring.

Residents were told that following previous floods, residents were offered free flood defence equipment,

Mrs Collins said: “I have a house and a business on that site and I have never been offered anything.

“If I had I would have been rather stupid not to take it.”

Mrs Collins went on to say she had not spoken out before last week’s meeting because flooding issues in Wainfleet took priority.

However, residents said it was important other locations were ‘not ignored.’

Town councillors accepted it was not clear if the offer of free equipment was still available – or whether it applied to commercial premises.

One resident said that ‘no money at all’ had been spent on the Waring.

He said a ‘flood gauge’ had been installed on the Banks Street section of the river – but that passed the area of the town the Waring flooded.

He added cleaning out the Waring from Stanhope Road to the Bull Ring would be ‘a start’ and prevent water from backing up.

Councillors and residents asked when the results of the investigation would be available.

Coun Aron replied: “It won’t happen overnight.

“There are more than 40 investigations in the county(into last month’s flooding).

“When I contacted the county council, they said it was the first they knew of this.”

Mrs Collins said it was ridiculous that nothing had been done on the Waring in the 10 years between the most recent flooding.

She asked Coun Aron for the names of two individuals at the county council and the EA so she could contact them personally.

Coun Aron said that was not possible.

He also said he had told Mrs Collins to contact the county council first, and not the EA. That claim was disputed by Mrs Collins and Coun Barker.

Town councillors pledged to monitor the situation closely and called on Coun Aron to ensure there was feedback, before the next meeting scheduled for September.

Coun Birchall assured residents: “Leave it with Coun Aron. We are on your side.”

A resident replied: “You said you were on our side 12 years ago.”

Coun Birchall stressed the town council would campaign for defences on the Waring.