Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Householders Hit by Flood Waters Again

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Householders Hit by Flood Waters Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher

FLOODS once again wreaked havoc on families' homes and train services were thrown into chaos yesterday as torrential downpours swept the region. Only 18 months since the River Wansbeck burst its banks and flooded homes in Morpeth, the waters were back.

At least six properties in the Newgate Street area of the town were left under around four feet of filthy river water.

"It is devastating," said Linda Goldstraw, 63, of Butcher's Lonnen. "We had only been in the house 11 months when the floods came the first time. Now, it's happened again.

"I won't come back here to live. Once the insurance people have been round, I'm leaving for good."

Linda, who lives with husband Les, 59, woke up yesterday morning to find mud coating her living room walls.

River debris had collected inside her kitchen cupboards, and her sofas were still oozing dirty river water.

"We've lost everything, even down to my husband's inhalers," Linda said. "All I'm going to save is some china which belonged to Les' mother."

Though they are not near the river, the houses in Butcher's Lonnen and part of Newgate Street back onto an underground burn, inside an old tunnel. In 2008, the burn became blocked with rubbish, causing the first flood.

For the past 12 months, work has been ongoing to repair the roof of the tunnel, meaning the burn is uncovered. In the early hours of yesterday, the water spilled out into neighbouring homes.

"It didn't even cross my mind that it would flood again," said Mark Fox, who lives next door to the couple.

"I could see the burn was high but I thought it would be the houses by the river that would flood, not here. I didn't even move my things upstairs.

"I was woken up at about four in the morning, when my fridge-freezer was knocked over by the water.

"I heard a dripping noise and just thought, 'I know that sound'."

The 38-year-old youth support worker added: "When I woke up the water was still rising. That's the worst thing, you are trapped in your house wondering where it will stop and whether you have to escape through a bedroom window. …

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