Angry flood victim is left high and dry

Pauline Houghton and her partner Ian Marshall who live at East Mill in Whorral Bank have been told they won't get any extra help with flood defenses or an escape route.
Pauline Houghton and her partner Ian Marshall who live at East Mill in Whorral Bank have been told they won't get any extra help with flood defenses or an escape route.

AN angry flood victim is calling for more support after being told her home cannot be protected.

Pauline Houghton, 62, moved into her East Mill home in Morpeth two years ago with her partner Ian Marshall, but disaster struck in September when the property was flooded.

Surface water came from the road at Whorral Bank, while the River Wansbeck flooded from the other side.

The Environment Agency has now begun a £21million flood alleviation scheme for Morpeth, but Miss Houghton has been warned that it will do nothing to protect her property.

“We are very concerned that flood defence scheme will make no difference to East Mill,” she said.

“We feel our safety is compromised because when it flooded the last time we couldn’t get out of the property.

“Until you experience a flood you are not aware of the devastation it causes and every time it rains you think it could happen again.

“But there seems to be no solution at all for us, it is like we are an island.”

The couple say a flood wall has been built by the Environment Agency for neighbouring properties, but they have been told it would not work for them, and their calls for reimbursement of money they have spent on measures to ensure their home can recover from a flood more easily, such as removing plastic boards to leave exposed stone and putting in a concrete floor and tiles, have been ignored.

“Our neighbours had a flood wall built outside their property after the flood in 2008 and it was good, it stopped them from being compromised and gave them an escape route. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the benefit of that,” said Miss Houghton.

“I have asked whether the agency will pay anything towards the work we have done. It paid for the flood wall for our neighbours, but it said it is unable to do this for us.

“If that is right then fair enough, but it sill needs to give us some means of escape.”

Environment Agency Operations Manager Alan Cadas said: “Regarding areas downstream from Morpeth, such as East Mill, it has unfortunately not been economically feasible to provide flood alleviation to all properties there.

“However, the Environment Agency has been in contact with residents of East Mill over a number of years and we have installed local flood alleviation measures where it is technically and economically feasible to do so. We have also provided advice to the affected residents on how best to help themselves.”