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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Cumbrian flood town’s anger over lack of sandbags

Maryport residents are furious that the council does not deliver sandbags to homes that are prone to flood.

Maryport flooding photo
Flooding in Maryport

Homeowners frantically called Allerdale council last week when the town was swamped with water after a tidal surge hit to plead for sandbags.

But they were told that the authority did not provide the service and to find their own bags at builder’s merchants.

Bill Barnes, of Edinburgh Road, said: “Next the council will be asking us to take our own rubbish to the tip.

“It’s just typical and it shows how the ‘local’ has gone out of local government. You don’t get that personal service from the council like you used to.

“People don’t have room to store sandbags and when they need them the builder’s yard could be shut. It is totally unfair as it is a service you expect a council to provide – to help protect against flooding.”

The authority pulled the plug on the service three years ago.

A council spokeswoman said: “The main reason we stopped was that when people were ringing up for sandbags, it was often too late. Sandbags are not the answer and not a way to address the flooding issues.”

She added that when the council stopped providing sandbags, they introduced a grant scheme for people to apply for flood gates, which was a “better solution.” However, this money has now run out.

A meeting has been called to make sure that flood-risk properties in the town have access to sandbags.

Keith Little, the town’s county councillor, has asked for talks after he had to step in last week to arrange sandbag deliveries.

Mr Little wants councils to meet to ensure a clearly defined sandbags policy is put in place for future emergencies.

“When there is a flood warning, people should know where they can get sandbags and we should be able to provide them to those most in need,” he added.

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