Prime Minister visits Todmorden

Prime Minister David Cameron is confronted by Kathleen Simpson as he leaves the town hall in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, after a meeting with council officials and emergency services workers about the floods which hit the town on Friday night.
Prime Minister David Cameron is confronted by Kathleen Simpson as he leaves the town hall in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, after a meeting with council officials and emergency services workers about the floods which hit the town on Friday night.
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David Cameron spent over an hour in Todmorden this morning to see the results of last week’s devastating floods.

He said: “One’s sympathy just goes out to people who had their homes flooded and have seen so many treasured possessions destroyed. But what you see is an incredibly strong community come together with real purpose - very positive - to help each other.

“The Government stands by to help in any way we can.

“The council is doing a good job. We will fill in any gaps if that’s required.”

The Prime Minister added: “This is a beautiful area of our country and it’s absolutely open for business.”

Asked about insurance issues faced by residents, Mr Cameron said there were short-term hardship funds available.

“Longer term, we need another deal with the insurance companies so they do what it says on the tin - insurance, they provide people with cover against flooding.

“The Government is in discussion with them and we are going to have a robust discussion to make sure they have the cover that people deserve.”

Mr Cameron talked about investment in flood relief but said: “That will never protect everybody.

“There was a month’s rain that fell in 24 hours. You can’t protect against some of that but we’ll do everything we can.”

He visited Sarah-Jayne Robins whose home was damaged by the storms last Friday.

She was trapped upstairs for 12 hours when water overflowed from the nearby Rochdale Canal.

Miss Robins showed Mr Cameron around the sodden ground floor of her back-to-back home, which is on a road between the River Calder and the Rochdale Canal.

She said flood water poured in and she had no choice but to shelter upstairs with her 18-month-old miniature poodle, Pepper. Miss Robins, 31, said she had to stay there until almost lunchtime on Saturday.

She said: “My family said they’d try and rescue me but they just couldn’t get near. Everything downstairs is just wrecked.

“Now it’s just got to dry out. It’s devastating, really.”

Miss Robins, who has lived in the rented property for 18 months, told the Prime Minister she is struggling to find the £100 insurance excess she needs.

The Prime Minister also met emergency services and representatives of Todmorden Community College and the Incredible Edible team.

As Mr Cameron was leaving the town hall Kathleen Simpson surprised him as he was getting into his car.

Ms Simpson asked the Prime Minister a number of animated questions about local issues, including the floods, as he stood on the pavement.

Mr Cameron was accompanied by Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker.

As he left the town, the Environment Agency issued another alert about possible flooding of the River Calder in the Upper Calder Valley after warnings about possible heavy rain and thunderstorms across the Pennines.

There is no suggestion at this stage that the situation is anywhere near as serious as it was last Friday when torrential rain caused severe flooding in Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

But householders and businesses in low lying properties are being told to be on their guard.

The hillsides remain sodden and rivers and streams are at much higher levels than normal.

“The band of rain moving in from the southwest which will reach West Yorkshire around noon,” according to the Environment Agency.

“This may cause some surface water and fluvial flooding. The rain band will continue to move steadily northeast, clearing the area in the afternoon. Brearley Fields in Mytholmroyd are expected to flood. Centre Vale Park in Todmorden is not expected to flood because the river is not forecast to reach the required level.”

To find out if your property is at risk and to see if you are eligible for Floodline Direct Warnings, call 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.