A dozen flooding probes to be launched after bank holiday devastation in Northampton

A dozen separate investigations will be carried out into Northampton's bank holiday floods with the results due to be made public in six months' time.

Saturday, 23rd June 2018, 10:21 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd June 2018, 10:28 am
Parts of Northampton were hit with a month's worth of rainfall in a matter of hours over the last bank holiday.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded when localised flash floods hit the town on Sunday, May 27, at 6.30pm. More than a month’s rain fell in one hour as 62mm of rain was recorded.

After weeks of enquiries, the county council’s flood and water management team has now decided that it will carry out 12 separate Section 19 investigations into the floods that caused devastation throughout the town.

Investigations will take place at St Leonards Road, East Hunsbury, Wootton, Woodgate Road, Hardingstone, Downsway, Breeze Hill, Brackmills industrial estate.

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A section 19 flood investigation will take place in Far Cotton after the bank holiday deluge.

There will also be two separate investigations in the Briars Hill area and two in the Far Cotton/Delapre area.

Speaking at Northamptonshire County Council's environment, development and scrutiny meeting earlier this week, flood and water manager Josie Bateman said the ‘picture was constantly evolving’ with more reports of flooding still coming into the council.

She said: “We had the more than the entire May’s rainfall within just one hour, which was incredible. It was one of those clouds that just hovered as there was not much wind.”

Councillor Pinder Chauhan, who went down to the affected areas to help residents when the floods hit, said the response was excellent from the emergency services.

The council has received 177 flooding complaints since the deluge at the end of May. It is believed half of the homes hit were not insured.

She said: “One of the observations was that there needs to be some kind of advice or guidance for councillors in this kind of incident as we were not sure who to contact.”

The threshold for a section 19 investigation is when critical infrastructure is affected in excess of three hours, when internal flooding is experienced by a property more than once in five years and when five properties are flooded during one incident.

In total, NCC has received 177 direct reports of internal floods but says it expects this number to be substantially higher. It is estimated that around 50 per cent of properties affected were uninsured.

The investigations will involve a close look at the different sites and involve meetings with the community, data gathering, eyewitness accounts and examining video footage. A draft Flood Investigation Report will then be compiled and after sign-off by relevant authorities, including fire and rescue and the water authorities, it will be published online. The final outcomes are expected to be known by November.

Since April 2012, there have been 52 Flood Investigation Reports in the county.

However, it is going to be a big task for the council’s flood investigation team as the department of two will go down to just one as Josie Bateman will leave her post shortly.

Councillors at the meeting thanked the officer for all her excellent work over the past few years.