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Medway floods cause deluge at Riverside Tavern in Strood


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Torrents of water deluged a pub, but the staff and regulars worked tirelessly to get the pints flowing again.

The Riverside Tavern in Strood was submerged by 2am on Monday after high tides.

Flooding struck on Monday morning

With knowledge of the impending flood, staff watched Titanic on Sunday night, while waiting for the rush of water to hit the Canal Road venue.

Owner Luke Gallacher said: “I know it’s serious but you’ve got to have a laugh sometimes. The film ended and the water came flooding in.”

The level was well over Mr Gallacher’s knees. The force knocked over bins, leaving rubbish and debris strewn across the garden and car park. It also caused an oil spillage in the kitchen.

Mr Gallacher said: “The water came rushing in but it left as quick as it came. It’s caused loads of muck. We've been doing a lot of cleaning, getting the place back up and running.”

The pub is surrounded by flood defences. There is a wall along part of Canal Road, and Medway Council contractor VolkerStevin has been raising the ground level, but neither of these protect the Riverside Tavern.

The Riverside Tavern pub was submerged by water (18192579)
The Riverside Tavern pub was submerged by water (18192579)

Mr Gallacher said: “All the flood defences are for the homes being built on Canal Road so we’re a little flood pocket.”

The council could not extend the defensive wall to the pub as it is on low lying land and there is a boat slipway down to the River Medway.

Riverside Tavern staff grabbed their wellies on Monday to help with the clean up after flooding swept across Kent.

Barman Luke Matthews, left, owner Luke Gallacher, centre, and electrician Jeff Campbell cleared out the flood water
Barman Luke Matthews, left, owner Luke Gallacher, centre, and electrician Jeff Campbell cleared out the flood water

Barman Luke Matthews, 19, said: “I didn’t realise how bad it actually was until I got down here.

“I’m going to be mopping up and trying to return the pub to the way it was before it was turned into a swimming pool.”

The flood caused a power cut but regular Jeff Campbell, who runs Neutral Electrics in Strood, drove over to help Mr Gallacher.

Mr Campbell said: “I had phone calls yesterday about the flood warnings. I was fine but I knew it would be bad down here. I was honestly shocked at how bad it was.”

Environment Agency spokesman Peter O’Connor said: “The Environment Agency continues to assess how weather conditions may affect communities in Strood, Sheppey, Lower Upnor and Middle Stoke.

“We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers, and not to drive through flood water, as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move a car.”

"The water came rushing in but it left as quick as it came. It’s caused loads of muck..." — pub landlord Luke Gallacher

To check flood levels, sign-up to the Environment Agency’s free flood-warning service at www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk, or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or @EnvAgencySE and @EnvAgency on Twitter.

The flooding is another frustration for Mr Gallacher, who has seen access to his pub from the Rochester direction closed off for several months while Strood Riverside development is built. Instead, customers have to drive in from the Medway City Estate end.

He says despite assurances work would be finished in May, then July, construction crews are no longer in the area but the diversion remains in place.

Medway Council said it constantly communicated with him during the design and construction phases, had tried to minimise disruption and maintained access throughout.

Gas works, which are part of the development, are due to finish at the end of this month.

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

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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