Tensions flare as Northampton flood victims demand ‘full investigation’ into council's response

A family clears out their home in Far Cotton following the floods. Last night, victims clashed with the council over the authority's response.
A family clears out their home in Far Cotton following the floods. Last night, victims clashed with the council over the authority's response.

A fiery council meeting ended with a pledge for Northampton Borough Council to carry out a ‘full investigation’ into its response to flash flooding in the town.

Tensions ran high as residents expressed their anger with elected officials last night over what they felt was a slow response from the authority last weekend.

Floods in Far Cotton.

Floods in Far Cotton.

More than 100 homes were affected after the two-hour thunderstorm 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.

An urgent motion by independent councillor Julie Davenport, who represents Delapre and Briar Hill, called on the authority to “consult with residents to find out if their expectations were met by this authority”.

It also called on the council to make sure “things are in place if such an event ever happens again”.

Flood damage in Far Cotton.

Flood damage in Far Cotton.

But despite the motion carrying at last night’s full council meeting at The Guildhall, tempers rose as residents hit out.

Jade Jones, 31, of Briars Hill, told councillors: “There’s been no help or support. Nothing. I have lost everything on my ground floor including two bedrooms.”

Jennie Boyce, who lives in Far Cotton, added: “I want to know why there was no contingency plan or anywhere for kids to go?

“My neighbour who has three little ones was told there was nothing that could be done. We have lost everything. My daughter has not eaten a proper meal since last Sunday. The council need to respond quicker.”

Cabinet member Councillor Brandon Eldred denied claims the response was worse than it had been in the flash floods of 1998 in the same area.

He said: “I know what it’s like to be out of a home for months due to flooding. The response has not been like it was in 1998. Back then we were getting letters through the door for council tax and things like that. That has not happened this time.”

But Councillor Davenport said that the authority should not just be pointing the finger at the county council.

She told the chamber: “This is a weak administration that’s not on the top of its game. I’m not happy and the residents are not happy.

“We need to have proper response teams in place. We have children who are traumatised by the rain now. We have got to be better and this council needs to come up with a proper plan to protect residents.”