Saddleworth News went out this afternoon with Cllr Adrian Alexander who took Debbie Abrahams MP to Wellyhole Street in his ward, Saddleworth West & Lees to see where a footbridge was washed away by the flood water yesterday.
Then they went up to Dobcross and reviewed the damage to houses on Dobcross New Road. Chatting to residents about the impact of the floods, when the River Tame broke its banks on Friday night, they were told that in a matter of 10 minutes the water came rushing across the road into their homes.
Cllr Adrian Alexander said: “I was in contact with the council yesterday and although I have some concerns, for example, regarding the frequency of drain clearances, I am pleased with the way they responded to the Environment Agency’s flood warnings by getting staff out on the ground in advance of, and during, the downpour. My ward was relatively unscathed in comparison to other areas but I will be talking to council officials about replacing the footbridge that was washed away as it is an important safe crossing point.
“One area of concern was Dobcross New Road where residents were telling us that the fire service would only come out if electrical points were threatened by the water. I’ll be looking into these complaints as soon as the flooding situation has been dealt with.”
One resident Roger Brereton told Saddleworth News: “The fire service refused to help and so did they council at first, when the council chaps did eventually come out one of them came over all happy and smiling, when I asked him if he thought it was funny he just went off in a huff and told me he would not leave us any more sandbags. We were all disgusted by this and explained the grids had not been cleaned out since the last time it flooded.”
Debbie, who also spoke to residents about their concerns, said: “As Saddleworth and other areas across Oldham start the clean up I must pay tribute to the way local people have pulled together to help each other to deal with the misery and disruption caused by these floods.
“Although there were a few issues of concern in how the emergency was responded to locally overall the families affected managed very well. In the short term I will be working with councillor colleagues to iron out the issues but, longer term, I am concerned that people in flood prone areas may find it harder to get insurance, although I am glad that hasn’t been an issue for these families so far.
“The government has cut £400M from the flood defence budget and are failing to ensure that flood insurance remains available to all. What we’ve seen here in Saddleworth over the last couple of days seems to be part of a looming crisis with flood insurance that will leave many homes across the country uninsurable, unmortgageable and unsellable.”