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Little Venice Country Park in Yalding evacuated due to flooding for second time in three weeks

A caravan park had to be evacuated for the second time in three weeks.

Little Venice Country Park in Yalding was submerged in water amid flooding which hit large parts of the county.

People are being shipped to safety after the flooding around Little Venice and Teapot Island. Picture: Chris Davey
People are being shipped to safety after the flooding around Little Venice and Teapot Island. Picture: Chris Davey

More than 40 residents were evacuated from their homes by fire crews.

Maidstone Borough Council said: "Incident Liaison Officers are currently on site at Little Venice and have visited Yalding, Laddingford and Collier Street, to assess the situations and assist where they can.

"Our Officers have so-far identified 22 residents who are in need of assistance and we are in the process of providing welfare support and accommodation."

Just over two weeks ago, around 200 people left their homes as Storm Dennis took hold.

MBC placed one person in temporary accommodation.

KMTV is at the scene of the flooding

At the time, the owner, Albert Lee, said: "There has been no damage because all of the lodges and static caravans are on floatation devices.

They have risen when the water level went up and have worked exactly for what they are designed to do."

A flood warning was in place for the River Medway, River Teise and River Beult in the village, with levels expected to rise until 11pm.

One of Little Venice's residents - who doesn't want to be named - said: "We get messages from the Environment Agency yesterday saying there was a flood alert. Nothing to worry about. Then last night it became a flood warning -this is when we move our cars to higher ground and hope for the best."

Boats are being used to evacuate people out of Little Venice
Boats are being used to evacuate people out of Little Venice

The resident, who lives alone with her cat, was picked up by a boat on Friday morning, wading part of the way through.

She added: "I had to take the day off work because I couldn't manage to carry my work clothes.

"It’s very worrying all of this. It's stressful now every time it rains. It’s okay when I’m there, so I can get my cat to safety, but if I wasn’t home, I would be really worried."

She has had to evacuate her home twice before Christmas and also during Storm Dennis. Flooding has now become such a common occurrence that she even has a 'flood bag' ready, filled with essentials.

The resident booked into a hotel, with her cat staying at a neighbours to be fed by a flood warden.

Lees Road has been hit by the heavy rainfall. Picture: Chris Davey
Lees Road has been hit by the heavy rainfall. Picture: Chris Davey

Over 24-hours, on Thursday and Friday. between 20mm and 40mm of rain fell across Kent.

The Environment Agency said despite the heavy rainfall, it did not need to release any water from the Leigh Flood Storage Area as levels have not peaked.

A number of roads were closed or blocked in the area including Symonds Lane, Hampstead Lane between Station Road and Maidstone Road. as well as Mill Lane.

Cathy Dagg, who lives in Blumer Lock, said: "My friend from Little Venice is terrified about what's happening.

"The problem has got a lot worse in recent years. My road, Hampstead Lane, is under water and we've had to move our cars. We always end up cut off from the rest of the village.

Green Lane in Yalding is submerged in water
Green Lane in Yalding is submerged in water
Emergency crews are gathering outside Hampstead Marine. Picture: Chris Davey
Emergency crews are gathering outside Hampstead Marine. Picture: Chris Davey

"It's not just a bit of water, it affects people's whole lives.

"We need to start asking -'why does this keep happening?'"

Miss Dagg is worried the plans to convert the former Syngenta agro-chemical plant just behind Little Venice into a business park will make the flooding situation worse.

She said: "The area currently absorbs quite a lot of water and if it's built on, the water will have to diverted into the canal which will make the flooding even worse than it already is.

"They don't seem to have even considered the impact it will have on the people living in Little Venice. This is people's lives we're talking about."

The Medway burst its banks around Yalding. Picture: Chris Davey
The Medway burst its banks around Yalding. Picture: Chris Davey

A spokesman for the Medway Beult and Teise Flood Help group added how the "village is very resilient" but there is a "lack of action being taken to prevent flooding".

She said: "People have pumps by their doors to keep the water out but they are powered by electricity and if the substation becomes submerged in water, the electricity will cut out and people's homes will be flooded.

"The arches at Teston Country Park needs to be cleared - there are trees and silt built up which causes the water pressure to also build.

"Little things like this may only reduce the water levels by one or two centimetres but that could be 10 less homes flooded."

Nu-Venture's number 23, 23A, 25 and 26 were affected by the flooding on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Emergency services at the scene. Picture: South East 4x4 Response
Emergency services at the scene. Picture: South East 4x4 Response
The Medway burst its banks around Yalding. Picture: Chris Davey
The Medway burst its banks around Yalding. Picture: Chris Davey

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: "Two fire engines are in attendance, as well as the Water Safety Unit and Technical Rescue Team. Crews are using a power boat and inflatable rafts to evacuate a number of residents from their homes. Firefighters are using a submersible pump to help clear the flood water from the site."

South East 4x4 Response has confirmed it had five vehicles in the Yalding area.

A spokesperson said: "Response teams are looking to be in the area for the next 48 hours providing resources where needed."

MBC also announced delays to waste collections as crews are unable to reach Yalding.

Several flood warnings were still in place on Saturday, with Little Venice residents unable to return home for a second night.

These warning were for Little Venice Country Park, the River Medway between Yalding and Maidstone, and the River Medway, River Teise and River Beult at Yalding.

River levels remained very high in the area but were at their peak, with flooding continuing and water levels falling slowly.

One resident said: "The water is going down slowly and is about 3ft deep now, we've booked in to stay away for one more night."

Another added: "I've been there this morning and the car park is half clear, you can drive to Little Venice okay."

Hampstead Lane remained closed in both directions between the Boathouse pub and the High Street, as does Lees Road from Symonds Lane to Hampstead Lane.

Symonds Lane was shut between Benover Road and Lees Road.

The flood warning for the caravan park was removed on Saturday evening after water levels dropped sufficiently, and all further warnings were removed in Kent by Sunday morning.

However, there are still several alerts in place - not for the Yalding area though.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "The water levels in the Rivers Teise, Beult and Medway are returning to normal and we are now working with our partners to ensure the community is getting support."

Residents are now returning home, with the arrangements coordinated by Maidstone Borough Council.

Press officer Julie Maddocks said: "People are returning as we speak.

"We have been liaising with the Environment Agency who say the water levels have subsided enough to make it safe for people to return."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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