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Kent storm: Homes flooded in Tunbridge Wells

By KentOnline reporter
Storms across Kent saw dozens of homes flooded in the early hours of the morning - with power cut to a leisure complex and town centre streets awash.
 
More than 60 emergency calls were made between 2.30am and 3.30am as up to three feet of water flooded some properties, with the Tunbridge Wells area particularly badly hit.
 
Sheppey Leisure Complex was closed this morning, as engineers worked to restore power which was lost during the storms.
 
Scroll down for video and audio
 
The storm in Chatham. Credit Nathan Bell

The storm in Chatham. Credit: Nathan Bell

Michael Marsh captured this photo in Whitstable

Michael Marsh captured this photo in Whitstable

Paul Darby took this stunning photo of Herne Bay clock tower

Paul Darby took this stunning photo of Herne Bay clock tower

 
Two of the calls to firefighters stated that people were trapped in properties in Tunbridge Wells, and water rescue crews from Tonbridge were sent to the scene because of the risk to life.
 
However, no injuries were reported and fire crews determined that no rescues were needed. 
 
Lightning over Gravesend. Picture Artifex Productions@Artifextv

Lightning over Gravesend. Picture: Artifex Productions @Artifextv

 
Firefighters pumped water out of a number of properties, while a Red Cross vehicle was also deployed.
 
The fire service sent three additional fire engines to the Tunbridge Wells area as a precaution, while incidents were prioritised for officers to assess.
 
Lesley Campbell and her husband woke up to the sound of pouring water and discovered their home in Brook Road had flooded: "The garden has been ruined. We're both disabled so neither of us can do a lot and we love to sit in our garden and now it's devastated.
 
"We can't have a wash, we can't have a cup of tea. A pump in our house to remove sewage isn't working because our electric's not working, so we can't even use the toilets."
 
 
 
Several businesses in the spa town are believed to have been affected, with Cassidy's Bar tweeting: "Unfortunately we were hit quite badly by the storm last night.
 
"We hope to be back up and running as soon as possible."
 
Zoe Rolandsen has been running Cassidy's Sports Bar in Castle Street off Tunbridge Wells High Street for two years.
 
She joined John Hoare, who has been the owner for more than 20 years, for the clean-up. 
 
She said the flooding last night isn't the worst she's seen since being at the bar, as they frequently get flooded when there's heavy rain.
 
 
Cassidy's Bar was badly hit by the floods. Picture @Cassidysbar

Cassidy's Bar was badly hit by the floods. Picture: @Cassidysbar

Tunbridge Wells town centre was badly hit by the floods. Picture @RobShergold

Tunbridge Wells town centre was badly hit by the floods. Picture: @RobShergold

 
 
The storm in Rainham. Credit Mitchell Lucus

The storm in Rainham. Credit: Mitchell Lucus

@BorkowskiZoe on Twitter managed to snap this great photo of the stormy skyline

@BorkowskiZoe on Twitter managed to snap this great photo of the stormy skyline

 
But Ms Rolandsen said more should be done to upgrade drainage in the area to prevent businesses having to deal with these issues on a regular basis.
 
She claimed contractors who had previously been sent out to look at the drains said they were not suitable for modern use.
 
There are believed to be a number of businesses in the street that are dealing with flood damage.
 
 
 

Storm's brewing...

Photo credit to Greg Esson

Click to view

 
 
A spokesman for Tunbridge Wells council said this morning: "We’re still putting together the information about the flooding.
 
"We know a number of properties in the Pantiles area were flooded.
 
"We have suspended our street cleaning schedule to go to areas where the flooding has happened to clean up."
More storm photos from Tunbridge Wells. Credit Neil Blanchard

More storm photos from Tunbridge Wells. Credit: Neil Blanchard

 
Many of the shops in The Pantiles were also affected. A spokesman for the parade said: "We're doing what we can to help businesses clear out their contents and get open again as soon as possible.
 
"We will be carrying out a full assessment of the shops to deduce what caused the water to gather so quickly."
 
The flooding peaked between 2.30am and 3.30am, with water beginning to subside at 4.30am.
 
More storm photos from Tunbridge Wells. Credit Neil Blanchard

More storm photos from Tunbridge Wells. Credit: Neil Blanchard

 
But crews remained at the scene pumping flood water out of some properties.
 
  
This picture of the storm in Chatham was tweeted by @biscuitthiefrechords

This picture of the storm in Chatham was tweeted by @biscuitthiefrechords

Lightning strikes over Gravesend. Picture @MicahTamplin

Lightning strikes over Gravesend. Picture: @MicahTamplin

Firefighters worked closely with other emergency services, authorities, and housing providers to make sure anyone affected received help.
 
 
Following the storm, Sheppey Leisure Complex posted on their Facebook page to announce that the adverse weather had shut the building today.
 
The statement says: "Following heavy storms last night we currently have no electricity within the Pool building and as such we are unable to open to the public.
 
The storm over the River Thames at Gravesend. Picture Artifex Productions @Artifextv

The storm over the River Thames at Gravesend. Picture: Artifex Productions @Artifextv

 
"We apologise for the frustration this may cause, our technical team are working extensively to rectify this issue.
 
"Swimming lesson pupils will contacted with regards to cancellations.
 
"Once again sorry for the inconvenience this may cause."
 
Credit Lee Webb in Ashford

Credit: Lee Webb in Ashford

Picture credit Simon Tower

Picture credit: Simon Tower

A Kent County Council spokesman said:“During last night’s storm we experienced exceptional rainfall, which is more than most drainage systems can cope with and puts them under immense pressure.

“We regularly clean our major network of around 70,000 surface drains, with those on high speed routes and known problem areas being tackled more often.

“Prior to this week we have received no enquiries with relation to Nevill Street or The Pantiles since 2015 however we are aware of the flooding that occurred last night and this will be investigated accordingly.

“With regard to Castle Street, we carried out a CCTV survey on June 16 to which we have only recently received the results so remedial works can be planned to reduce the flooding issue going forward.

“All other locations throughout Tunbridge Wells will be inspected, risk assessed and maintenance arranged where required.

“Should residents be concerned about flooding on the highway or flooding as a result of water from the highway they can report it to us.

“To report highway flooding via our website please visit www.kent.gov.uk/highways or call 03000 418181.”

If you have pictures of the storm or flooding email news@thekmgroup.co.uk
 

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