VIDEO: 'Give us more flood defences' plead families flooded out of homes on Christmas Day (From Bournemouth Echo)
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VIDEO: 'Give us more flood defences' plead families flooded out of homes on Christmas Day
TENTERHOOKS: Ken Richards, far left, pictured with his two sons Alan and Steve, back, grandson Ben and other resident Paul Richards, front right, by ruined furniture at the front of the flats in Christchurch
RESIDENTS left homeless after the River Stour burst its banks and flooded their homes are calling for increased flood defences to protect their properties.
Eight families were evacuated at 4.30am on Christmas Day after dirty floodwater contaminated with sewage swept into their homes in Conifer Close, Christchurch.
The ground floor flats in the Stourbanks apartment block have been completely destroyed and the residents have been forced to find somewhere new to live.
Resident Eric Matthews, 76, whose flat was flooded with two feet of water said: “My flat is completely ruined and I have to find a new home. All my worldly possessions have been drenched and are now damaged beyond repair.
“Living so close to the river is a nightmare when there is no flood defences.
“We were constantly on tenterhooks as we never knew exactly when it was going to flood.”
The flooding has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and the communal building is now contaminated because of the dirty water.
Alan Richards, who rescued his 80-year-old father Ken, said: “He was absolutely terrified because he woke up surrounded by freezing water early in the morning on Christmas Day.
“If a one metre high flood defence bund had been built to protect from flooding then the building would have been saved.”
The building flooded in 2000 and 2003 and the Environment Agency carried out a feasibility study, but no flood defences were put in place.
Resident Paul Richards, 60, said: “We need increased flood defences to protect us from any further flooding as we are very vulnerable at the moment.”
A spokesman from the Environment Agency said: “We are sympathetic as there is nothing worse than flooding at this time of year. At the moment it is not financially possible to install any flood defences but the residents can take advantage of the Personal Protection Fund.”
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