SEVERE flooding left residents homeless and businesses under threat as high tides, heavy rains and strong winds battered Dorset yesterday morning.
Iford Bridge Home Park was closed off and residents were unable to return to their homes after the Environment Agency issued a severe warning meaning there was a ‘danger to life’.
The Home Park will remain closed until Monday, January 6 and on-site security has been arranged for the whole weekend to ensure people do not risk their personal safety by accessing the site and to protect properties.
More than 90 residents were evacuated from the home park for the second time since Christmas on January 2 and those who needed it were accommodated overnight in a hotel.
Cllr Lawrence Williams who took an active role in the evacuation said: “It all went like clockwork. We started at 3.30pm and the evacuation was finished by 6.30pm with at least 90 residents were taken to safety.”
At least 20 properties at the home park have been destroyed by the water which was at least a foot deep causing around £10million damage.
Resident Jean Cole said: “My house is completely wrecked and will be condemned. If I wanted to stay here I would need to buy a new property. It has been an absolute nightmare.”
The managers of the home park called for an inquiry into the lack of warning before the last evacuation which took place at 4am on Christmas morning.
Site manager Wendy Ayres said: “This all certainly made up for what happened on Christmas Day. We were notified that we were going to be evacuate at 1pm and it all went very smoothly, everyone came off the park.”
MP Tobias Ellwood helped lay sand-bags at the site and Bournemouth Council Cabinet Member Lawrence Williams was on hand all day yesterday to speak to residents.
Businesses and residents in Christchurch were also seriously affected by the flooding at the Harbour Side and Christchurch Quay.
The Old Mill Tea House was completely flooded at 10am yesterday morning and employees were desperately trying to bail the water out with buckets.
Owner Jan Shaw said: “We have used a t least 50 buckets so far and there is still a huge amount of water. It’s because the cars are trying to drive through the deep water and it’s being pushed towards us.”
The Boathouse on Christchurch Quay was also putting up flood defences to protect against the forecast severe weather.
Duty manager Jen Boland said: “We are expecting this to continue for at least another week so we are doing as much as possible.”
Local resident Adrian Thornton said: “I’ve never seen the water levels this high before and I was born and bred in this area.”
Mudeford Quay car park was also flooded at high tide around 9.30am yesterday morning.