WATER bosses have come under fire from York residents forced to desperately pump water away from their threatened homes as the city endured another spate of summer downpours – with more rain on the way.
Residents in the Rawcliffe area of the city claim they had to fend for themselves when a deluge yesterday morning – which saw five times more rain than expected drench North Yorkshire – led to water and raw sewage from overflowing drains pour towards their houses.
In Foxwood, water crept into several homes and sandbags were handed out, while two flood warnings were last night in force across the region.
With further rain forecast and torrents of water gushing down from higher ground set to swell the River Ouse, the Environment Agency was expecting to issue another flood alert in York today.
People living in Shipton Road, which has been severely hit by flooding in recent years, had to mobilise their own mopping-up operation yesterday to cope with overflowing water and reeking sewage.
They are furious that nobody from Yorkshire Water came to help them or open a nearby pumping station so a portable pump locked inside could be used in their battle against the bad weather.
“If we hadn’t used our own pumps to bale the water out of driveways and gardens, it would have got into our houses,” said Carol Hill, 43, who has been unable to return to her Shipton Road home since it was flooded last year.
“We asked Yorkshire Water to respond and open the pumping station, but we were told they couldn’t because they were inundated. They’d promised to help us after this area’s problems in the past, but they didn’t.
“While we understand they were busy, we believe we should have been made a priority because of our flooding history and the health impact of raw sewage leaking and having to be poured into the street. We’re angry because we feel we’ve been left in the lurch, and more rain will mean having to do all this again.”
Skelton, Rawcliffe and Clifton Without councillor Richard Moore wants an investigation into Yorkshire Water’s lack of response, saying: “This is completely unacceptable.
“Yorkshire Water expressed a desire to work with residents to solve the problem, but when it happens again they’re nowhere to be seen. Residents are fed up of getting nowhere – it really isn’t good enough.”
Coun Steve Galloway, who lives in Foxwood – where water seeped into several houses in Oldman Court and Spurr Court – also intends to contact Yorkshire Water after problems with a local pumping station.
“I understand one of the pumps there did not work yesterday and I am not entirely satisfied with the system Yorkshire Water has there to alert engineers to a problem,” he said.
“Residents are rightly concerned about flooding – even one property being affected is one too many. I will certainly be having a site meeting with Yorkshire Water about flooding problems in the central area of Foxwood.”
A Yorkshire Water spokeswoman said: “Using the pump at the pumping station in Rawcliffe would not have made much difference as there would have been nowhere for the water to go, “We had a lot of heavy rain across North Yorkshire over the weekend, and when this happens we have to prioritise so we deal with internal flooding in homes first. We appreciate flooding is never nice for anybody and we do our best to respond to every incident as quickly as possible.
“We hope to be able to come out to Shipton Road by Monday and clean out the sewer system to ensure there are no blockages.”
Races parking poser
YORK Racecourse bosses were today set to decide whether emergency parking plans will have to be put into action ahead of their biggest event of the year after heavy rain swamped the venue’s main car park.
The four-day Ebor Festival begins tomorrow, with around 120,000 punters expected to flock to Knavesmire this week for the jewel in the city’s racing crown. But the weekend downpours left the Racecourse’s ‘A’ car park off Knavesmire Road submerged, which may mean contingency parking arrangements may have to be used.