Shadow Environment Minister visits Hebden Bridge flood victims

Mary Creagh, Shadow Environment Secretary at Nutclough, Hebden Bridge with resident Lakhbir Sangha.
Mary Creagh, Shadow Environment Secretary at Nutclough, Hebden Bridge with resident Lakhbir Sangha.

AT least half of the shops in Hebden Bridge remain closed nearly a month after the first floods, which also wreaked havoc in Mytholmroyd and Todmorden.

Meanwhile regulars have hit out at a pub company for calling last orders at two of the Calder Valley’s most popular pubs.

The landlords at The Railway, in Hebden Bridge, and The Dusty Miller, in Mytholmroyd, have been told by bosses at Punch Taverns that the pubs would not be reopening after suffering severe flood damage.

The owners of some of those struggling businesses and householders still involved in clean up operations put their concerns to Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creah when she visited the town on Wednesday.

Lakhbir Sangha’s home at the junction of Foster Lane and Keighley Road was one of the first to be affected by the cloud burst over the Birchcliffe hillside.

As water poured down the Nutclough stream, a tunnel beneath the road quickly became blocked and a deep lake formed behind Dr Sangha’s home, which overflowed into her back garden.

“The cellar flooded and for about an hour and a half we had two feet of water in the ground floor which ruined everything. It will take weeks to dry out,” she told the Shadow Minister.

The water from Nutclough turned Keighley Road into a river which swept down into Hebden Bridge flooding shops and buisnesses for a second time.

“You can’t control the weather,” said Dr Sangha. “But we need to do more to control how the water flows and where it is directed.”.

Neighbours also spoke to the Shadow Minister about the damage caused to their properties, before she went on to visit the town centre.

“This was clearly an extra ordinary event but climate change means that the weather is becoming more unpredictable and action must to be taken at a national level,” said Mary Creah.

She said Government resources for flood prevention had been reduced from £354 million in 2010 to £259 million for the following four years which had made insurance companies even more reluctant to help people in areas at risk of flooding.

“Investment obviously has to rise or properties will become unusable and usaleable, and we will have communities blighted, which we must avoid at all costs.”

*Staff from the Environment Agency and the National Flood Forum will be talking to residents next week who were affected by flooding.

The team is holding drop-in sessions with partner organisations on Monday at Mytholmroyd St Michael’s Church car park and on

Tuesday at Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre car park from noon until 7pm.

Representatives from Calderdale Council, Yorkshire Water, West Yorkshire Police, and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service will also be at the sessions.