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Flooding expected between Yalding and Maidstone because of Storm Dennis

People living along the banks of the River Medway have been put on alert for flooding today.

The Environment Agency says immediate action is required as water levels continue to rise between Yalding and Maidstone because of Storm Dennis.

Click below to see footage of the fast flowing river in East Farleigh this morning.

According to the agency, "there is a possibility of flooding for the most vulnerable riverside properties", particularly around Bow Bridge, Wateringbury, and in East Farleigh.

The peak level at Yalding and East Farleigh is expected after 6pm, with levels expected to be slightly under that registered in December, which led to hundreds being evacuated.

Residents who live near Lower River Medway are being warned to be prepared, as flooding is possible.

Areas expected to be impacted are around Wateringbury, East Farleigh and Maidstone, the Environment Agency said.

River levels are expected to peak during the day and people are asked to avoid low lying roads near river and avoid low lying footpaths.

The agency said: "We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff will continue to be out in this area, checking structures and clearing blockages where it is safe to do so."

Little Venice caravan park, in Yalding, is partially underwater and many residents have left to stay with family and friends. The water is not expected to dissipate for at least two or three days and Maidstone Borough Council has advised people not to return until then.

The owner of Little Venice declined to comment.

Lees Road, the main road running through Yalding, has closed by Teapot Island. There is still access via Hampstead Lane but traffic is being stopped next to The Boathouse pub.

Travelling into the village from Laddingford motorists are being met with flooded lanes at Gravelly Ways leading up to Lees Road.

Access to Yalding is restricted
Access to Yalding is restricted

Click below to see footage of the rising river levels in Yalding this morning

Yesterday, the agency set up an emergency control centre in Yalding and has been giving out 1,000 sand bags.

Since the village flooded at the end of last year, flood gates and water pumps have been installed in particularly vulnerable areas within Yalding.

Speaking about the likelihood of flooding, Yalding post office owner June Chapman, said: "We are used to it. We just go into emergency mode. Our house, which is behind the post office, is surrounded by water again.

"It isn't flooded because there is a skirt. None of the other houses in the particularly vulnerable areas are flooded either."

Members of the South East 4x4 Response, a voluntary group which provides support to the emergency services in times of need, were deployed to Yalding on Saturday and remain there today.

Flood alerts have been issued for areas close to the River Medway Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
Flood alerts have been issued for areas close to the River Medway Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

They have been on watch 24/7 and helping the flood wardens by delivering sandbags and enforcing the road closures. Some six volunteers have been deployed to the village.

Alan Moles, press officer for the group, said agencies and residents are more prepared for the flooding than they were in December.

South East 4x4 Response also came to group's aid before Christmas.

Mr Moles said: "I think people are far more aware and prepared. Last night there were quite a lot of people who had put out their flood defences. I think there has been enough warning. The station set up in the village hall has made it far easier for the different groups to co-ordinate tasks with each other. It is also because we had Storm Ciara last week and the flooding in December."

Speaking about the current flooding threat hanging over the village, Mr Moles said: "The water level is lower than in December. But the water takes time to build up and drain away. We are on standby."

A spokesman for MBC said: "The borough council emergency planning team continues to work with the Environment Agency and partners to monitor the situation as it has done across the weekend.

"As communities and partners continue to work together the situation appears to be currently under control. However, the council’s incident liaison officer will once again be out in Yalding this evening when the River Medway is expected to peak at 6pm.The MBC Officer will be ‘on-site’ to assess the needs of residents and businesses located there.

The spokesman added: "ILO’s have been working closely with the parish councils to support people most at risk and have visited Yalding, Collier Street, Marden, Laddingford, Staplehurst, Little Venice and the town centre to assist those who may be affected by flooding. Sandbags were made available and road closures were put in place in several areas."

For all the forecasts, warnings and weather related news, click here.

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