Briar Hill flood victim pleads with council to put her in emergency temporary accommodation

Shelley pictured with her husband Gareth and five of her children.
Shelley pictured with her husband Gareth and five of her children.

What is it like for a family living in the aftermath of the floods? We speak to one family ten days on from the tragic event that turned 100 Northampton families lives upside down.

More than 100 homes were affected after the two-hour thunderstorm on May 27, which caused standing water of up to four feet to flood homes and businesses.

Blocked drains, maintained by Northamptonshire County Council, have been blamed by many for the deluge, but the borough council has now agreed to investigate its own response.

A mum-of-seven, who is heavily pregnant, talked to us about the upsetting ordeal of having to throw out hers and her husbands' clothes as well as her 12-year-old's electronics just two months before she gives birth.

Shelley Parry, 31, of Briar Hill lives in private rented housing with her husband and seven children.

She has now been moved to a hotel for two weeks while temporary accommodation is arranged as her house undergoes repair work.

But Mrs Parry - who has been told by the insurance company that it will take six months for the repair work to be completed at her property - claims council staff visited her on Thursday and told her that she could potentially be re-homed, but to no avail.

She said: "The insurance people have said that it's going to be six months without a floor. They need to rebuild from the floor - all the kitchen needs doing, it's going to be a nightmare.

"It's not easy for me to go to an estate agent and say: 'I want a house' - I haven't got £3,000 to put on a deposit, whereas they're saying [the borough council]: ‘there are houses out there’...well get me one then.

"I even said: ‘I don't mind going into a two bedroom flat’ - just somewhere where it's healthy for the children to be in there."

Mrs Parry, who was urgently trying to stop the water entering her home by putting down towels and bed sheets at the back door, said the water eventually came through the walls and kitchen floor.

"It was to the point where my neighbour said: 'leave it and get out'," she added. "It's more the fact it's the big things that you have to live with [which are damaged]... the sofa and the floor."

"I saw an hours worth of rain turn my life upside down."

But Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing said Northampton Borough Council doesn’t discuss individual cases and the authority can’t help rehouse her on this occasion.

He said: “However, we will always provide advice and support when needed and, where appropriate, we will provide emergency accommodation.

"If someone is renting their home from a private landlord and it becomes uninhabitable, we would expect the landlord to provide them with suitable alternative accommodation until they can return home”.

But Mrs Parry's landlord is currently helping to partly foot the bill of her hotel for two weeks as it's closer to her children's five separate schools and nurseries.

Together they are calling on Northampton Borough Council to put Mrs Parry's family up in emergency housing near to, or in, Briar Hill for the families convenience.