Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Flooding's Been Hell for Those Forced to Flee Their Home

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Flooding's Been Hell for Those Forced to Flee Their Home

Article excerpt

"IT has been hell, there's no other way to describe it," says Kath Himsworth, a year on from the flooding devastation which ruined her home.

Four feet of dirty, smelly, muddy water cascaded into the house she shares with husband Alan on Gaskell Lane, Loftus.

Freak rainfall in September last year had caused a build-up of logs, branches and debris at culverts upstream, over a beck which runs alongside the Himsworth's home.

After pressure built and the water backed up at a 15ft waterfall just upstream, the force of the water swept away a wall and 10 feet of land beside the beck and water rushed towards the house, sweeping away Gaskell Bridge - which acts as the access to homes on Gaskell Lane.

The water level reached four feet inside the Himsworth's house and garage - destroying cars including a Jaguar, furniture, carpets and precious family photographs.

Their dog Max, a German Shepherd, was swept away while inside a car but was thankfully saved.

But after having to live in rented accommodation until June this year, they are finally home - managing to have their oak kitchen cupboards painstakingly repaired and reclaimed, with one relative even using a stick to search the mud which engulfed their house to find and save china ornaments.

Mrs Himsworth said: "You have to get through these things, but the worry never "ever leaves you.

"It's horrific - you just can't describe it."

Now, after battling for a year with Redcar and Cleveland Council, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water to find out how the bridge will be fixed, a meeting with officials this week might see a possible solution.

Those living on Gaskell Lane have not been able to drive in or out - apart from on an old farmer's track through the Himsworth's land - receive deliveries, or even allow ambulances or fire engines through. Another resident, Kath Horness, said: "We have been given the option of two new bridges by the council, redoing it as a stone bridge which would cost PS96,000 or putting in what is called a retro-beam bridge which is metal, can be permanent or temporary, and will cost PS76,000. …

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