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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Kent remains on flood warning by Environment Agency after dozens of families evacuated from Yalding caravan site

03 February 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Flood warnings remain in force for Kent this morning with more wet weather expected to lash the county during the week.

Over the weekend, 26 people had to be rescued from a flooded caravan site in Yalding while parts of Ashford and Canterbury were also left under water.

The Environment Agency is continuing to monitor the situation around the rivers Darent, Stour, Little Stour, Medway, Beult, at Grove Ferry and at Fordwich.

A couple rescue their belongings at the caravan park. Picture Matthew Walker

Residents of the Yalding caravan park are used to evacuating

Yesterday, firefighters were called out to help those living in a mobile home park in Yalding to safety.

Crews in a fire engine and an inland boat donned dry suits after families became trapped in their homes at The Lees.

As many as 26 people were evacuated and fire crews were still helping those stranded in the park.

Meanwhile, forecasters are predicting heavy rain and strong winds for Kent tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Environment Agency today has seven flood warnings in place for Kent:

  • River Darent at Dartford Trade Park, Brooklands and Dartford to the Thames Estuary
  • Great Stour between Ashford and Fordwich
  • River Medway between Hampstead Lock and Allington Lock
  • River Beult from Pluckley and Bethersden to Hampstead Lock
  • Grove Ferry and Plucks Gutter
  • Nailbourne and Little Stour between Lyminge and Stourmouth
  • Fordwich and Sturry

Waters lap up against businesses in Yalding. Picture Matthew Walker

Waters lap up against businesses in Yalding. Picture: Matthew Walker

On the flooded site in Hampstead Lane, Yalding, around 14 residents opted to stay despite the offer of alternative accommodation.

Ian Peacock is one and took up residence in a one-bedroom flat above the site's main entrance, which he is sharing with four women also from the park.

He said: "I've been up for long over a day now. It wasn't until 10pm that emergency services got here last night and I helped lead them to people who might need help.

"They were on the scene until 5am so it was a sleepless night for everyone.

"I won't be going to sleep soon, you learn to live with these conditions. My only concern now is that we'll get hit again tonight."

Scroll down for video
 
Car What car A canoeist finds an alternative mode of transport at Hampstead Marina in Yalding.  Picture Matthew Walker

Car? What car? A canoeist finds an alternative mode of transport at Hampstead Marina in Yalding. Picture: Matthew Walker

Clive Cook, who lives in Yalding, said action needed to be taken to step up flood defences.
 
He said: "It has a history of flooding and it does need to have flood defences, I don't know where we're going to be with this. 
 
"It's nuts - it's crazy to put people's houses there that are going to be known to be flooded. It's very wet there now. It's completely awash. 
 
"It's sad if they get it on an annual basis. It takes 12 months to sort a property out, then they walk in and it gets flooded again. People can't keep having that."
Wonder whether B&Q in Ashford sells water pumps Picture Peter Morris-Kelso

Wonder whether B&Q in Ashford sells water pumps? Picture: Peter Morris-Kelso

Ashford becomes a lake. Aerial picture DeanMorse Systems

Ashford becomes a lake. Aerial picture: Dean/Morse Systems

Flood water is seen at the retail park in Ashford. Aerial picture DeanMorse Systems

Flood water is seen at the retail park in Ashford. Aerial picture: Dean/Morse Systems

Several roads in the area were also flooded yesterday. They include Hamsptead Lane and Lees Road in Yalding, due to extensive flooding in the village; Queen Street in Paddock Wood; Romden Road in Smarden and Woodcock Lane in Iden Green.
 
Meanwhile, B&Q in Norman Road, Ashford was under 8ins of water at the weekend.
 
Duty manager Gary Seale said: “Only a third of the car park was useable and the water was in places about 8in deep.
 
“For the areas that could still be used we put up signs warning customers to make sure they took extra care as they drove in.
 
“The water has gone today and we were able to keep the store open throughout the weekend.”

Rivers burst their banks in Ashford. Picture K S Rivers

Rivers burst their banks in Ashford. Picture: K S Rivers

The river has burst its banks. Picture K S Rivers

The river has burst its banks. Picture: K S Rivers

 

Flooding in Ashford was caused by burst river banks leading to fields going underwater including those near the Ashford Designer Outlet.
 
Forecasters predict blustery and heavy showers in the region towards midday, with gales likely near the costs. 

 

Sainsbury's supermarket in Canterbury is flooded. Video: K Steele

The aerial pictures, taken from the skies above Ashford, show how whole swathes of the town became submerged as rivers burst their banks and fields were swamped.


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