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Floods causing evacuations in Northampton

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About 1,000 people are being evacuated from Billing Aquadrome after more high rainfall was forecast.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said that with more heavy rain expected later today, they were getting residents to safety early as a precaution.

Although they feared as many as 2,500 would have to be moved early this morning, aquadrome managers said there were only 1,000 people in residence as many have gone away for the winter. That compares with the approximately 3,000 who had to leave in the major flooding in May.

Peter Angelides, business development manager, said: “We have been advised by the Environment Agency, as a precaution measure, to evacuate the park based on the expected rainfall.

“The Environment Agency are going to open the gates to the washlands at some point today. It’s going to be orchestrated by them and done gradually.

“It’s a way of getting rid of excess rainfall so they can cope with more when it comes. However, the rain may not fall at all.”

“The most important thing to us is the safety of our holiday home owners, holiday guests and staff.

“We are advising all our holiday home owners and guests to return home to their residential addresses, however should this not be possible then facilities have been provided for them at the Salvation Army, Billing Brook Road, Northampton, NN3 8EZ.

“We will ensure the site is made as safe and secure as possible before evacuation. The well-being of anyone on-site or connected with Billing Aquadrome is paramount in situations like this and we have taken the necessary action required as all responsible site owners would do.”

Andy Wilkinson from the Environment Agency said: ‘We’re working with the police and Billing Aquadrome to ensure that people remain safe.

“With more rain forecast tonight, it’s sensible to evacuate the site during daylight hours, to give people time to collect belongings and make alternative arrangements.

“We’ve had a lot of rain falling over a short period of time onto already wet ground.

“Under these conditions it is inevitable that water levels will rise and we will be keeping a close eye on the forecast over the coming days.”

Around 39mm of rain fell around Northamptonshire yesterday and overnight, raising levels in the river Nene.

Large amounts of standing water around the county have made travel difficult too.

Flood Warnings are currently in place for isolated properties near the River Nene from Cogenhoe to Great Doddington, Billing Aquadrome and nearby business parks and for isolated properties near the Upper River Nene, including Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke, Bugbrooke Mill, Upton Mill, Horton, Hackleton and Preston Deanery and Cogenhoe Mill caravan site.

Baz Fox, who was the fire service commander yesterday, added that 250 more people were also likely to be moved from Cogenhoe today.

It comes after the deluge yesterday caused a hectic 24 hours for firefighters, who were called out 70 times to flood-related calls, most caused by surface water run-off.

Crews rescued three people from their cars, who were stuck in floodwaters, and another man from his van in Flore.

Mr Fox said: “People will see a large pool of water and try to get through it with no way of knowing ho deep it is.

“The water splashes up and stalls the engine, leaving them completely stranded.

“If you’re not absolutely certain how deep the water is, turn around and go another way.”

 

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