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RETFORD: Heartbroken residents speak out as Minister visits ruined homes

People in Retford say they’ve been left heartbroken after ‘unprecedented’ rainfall led to severe flooding and the mass evacuation of 500 properties along the River Idle.

The Idle, which feeds into the River Trent, reached record levels after Storm Babet battered the country from Friday, October 20.

Over the weekend the Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings for the river.

In Retford, the area most at risk had been Darrel Road, where homes and gardens were submerged in up to six feet of flood water, breaching most defences early Saturday morning (October 21).

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey right speaks to Darrel Road resident Lucy Rose scaled

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Lucy Rose, who lives on Darrel Road with her 17-year-old daughter and partner Adrian Hodson, said she is heartbroken and angry.

“My 17-year-old daughter had to walk through knee-high water on the way out,” she said.

“No-one came until it was too late.”

She said their homes had flooded before in 2007 and it had taken six months before they could move back in.

They are now staying in the West Retford Hotel at a cost of £75 per night while alternative accommodation is arranged.

Flood defences were installed after 2019, including barriers, but these failed to stop the water.

Flood waters came from the River Idle which burst its banks scaled

Mr Hodson said they were woken up at 2am on Saturday morning by Nottinghamshire Police officers.

Within the space of hours water had risen from under the floorboards and into their home.

“Something needs to be done. Full stop,” Mr Hodson said.

“The flood defences on your house don’t hold up and something needs to be done elsewhere. Money needs to be spent and things need to be re-done.

“They say things repeatedly but what happens? This is one of the worst streets, there are other streets in Retford just as bad, and they know it.

“It’s just gutting. You have a nice house and then it gets full of water, but what can you do. It’s just a really depressing situation and now you have got to dry it out with a fear of when will it happen again?”

In nearby Meden Way residents were also told to evacuate.

Alan Pentland, who has lived on the street for the past 20 years, said: “It is the worst I’ve ever seen.

“It just started coming up, and up. It just kept coming and coming and at 8am it was right up to the door.”

Therese Coffey (Con), the Secretary of State for the Environment, paid a visit to residents in Darrel Close on Monday, October 23.

Mansfield MP and leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Ben Bradley (Con), and Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith (Con) also attended.

Frustrated and angry residents posed questions to them during the short visit.

Some said they feel as if the problem has been “left and left”.

Responding to the concerns, Ms Coffey said: “It just so happens I’m due to be meeting the chief executive of the Environment Agency to go through where we are in our programme.

“Between 2015/21 we have spent £2.6 billion of taxpayers’ money on flood defences that affects over 300,000 homes across the country.”

She added a further £5.6 billion has now been allocated over the next six years, providing around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect a further 336,000 properties.

Nottinghamshire County Council says it is continuing to closely monitor the situation.

While no further rainfall is expected on Monday, river levels are anticipated to continue to rise, posing a further risk to life. Further rainfall is then expected in the early hours of Tuesday (October 24).

An Environment Agency representative at the scene told residents the Idle had flooded due to ‘unprecedented’ rainfall over the weekend.

Incident response staff have been liaising with emergency services and local authorities and remain ready to respond and support wherever it is needed, they added.

@westbridgfordwirenews People in Retford say they’ve been left heartbroken after ‘unprecedented’ rainfall led to severe flooding and the mass evacuation of 500 properties along the River Idle. The Idle, which feeds into the River Trent, reached record levels after Storm Babet battered the country from Friday, October 20. Over the weekend the Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings for the river. In Retford, the area most at risk had been Darrel Road, where homes and gardens were submerged in up to six feet of flood water, breaching most defences early Saturday morning (October 21). . #stormbabet #flood #retford #theresecoffey #flood #flooding #fyp #foryoupage #westbridgford #nottinghamshire #nottinghamnews #nottingham #westbridgford #notts #rivertrent #flooding ♬ original sound West Bridgford Wire News

Cllr Neil Clarke, Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment at the county council, added: “The people of Retford have shown resilience and true community spirit in their support of each other during very difficult circumstances.

“I wish to thank the emergency service and all the agencies who have provided support to people throughout these terrible floods.

“We will continue to support residents across the whole county as they seek to recover their communities in the coming days and weeks. Please everyone, do stay safe.”

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