Street evacuated as people forced to leave their homes and possessions

By Danny Rigg

People living on a heavily flooded street have been evacuated from their homes.

Houses along Borough Road, Birkenhead were flooded yesterday during heavy rainfall that caused disruption to trains, schools and roads across the Wirral.

Residents reported 'disgusting' smelling brown water filling their homes, soaking their furniture and damaging their electronic appliances.

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The local housing association, Riverside, instructed residents in 13 properties to evacuate their homes today.

Riverside is providing accommodation in hotels for people unable to stay with friends or relatives.

Mark Burnett, Riverside’s Head of Assets Strategy & Delivery for the region, told the ECHO : "Unfortunately yesterday's torrential downpour caused flooding to 13 of our properties on Borough Road, Birkenhead.

"As soon as our housing team were made aware of this they were on site to support tenants and provide them with assistance.

"At that point the flooding was minimal and all residents were happy to stay in their homes.

"However, our repairs team visited the properties today to assess the damage, and since then, contaminated standing water has appeared in the basement.

"As a result, a decision has been made to evacuate residents and find them suitable alternative accommodation as their safety is our number one priority.

"Eight households are being allocated to hotels, three have made alternative arrangements and two have said their properties are fine and they want to remain there.

"We are still assessing the damage so at this stage we are unsure how long it will be until they can return to their homes.

"We understand this is an upsetting time for all the residents concerned, however we are supporting them throughout and will continue to do so until they can return safely to their homes."

A clean-up operation is under way after heavy rainfall overwhelmed drainage systems, flooding homes and roads across the Wirral peninsula.

Borough Road closed after flooding causing damage to the road.(Pic Andrew Teebay). (Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

A spokesperson for Wirral Council told the ECHO : " Wirral Council ’s Highways and Out of Hour Services dealt with a large number of calls yesterday afternoon and into the evening responding to reports of flooding to roads and properties across the borough.

"Today the focus for the service is to continue with the clean-up operations and deal with the excess rainwater to help area drainage systems. We are working with partners and contractors throughout this operation.

"In some places the intensity and volume of rain was sufficient to overwhelm the area drainage systems serving highways.

"Early analysis indicates that the rainfall yesterday for Wirral was most severe at locations around Bromborough, Bebington and Birkenhead which received two intense events at 14:00 and 17:00.

" Heswall was also impacted. Residents were also assisted, and some roads were temporarily closed to allow the rainwater to drain away.

"The council is also working closely with water companies (United Utilities and Welsh Water) who operate the sewer and drainage networks in Wirral to check and clear drainage systems so that they can work at their capacity again.

"The forecast today is similar to yesterday and therefore anticipate we may experience localised flooding in parts of the borough. We will again have crews and equipment out responding."

Flooding caused by the torrential downpour hit areas outside usual hotspots, according to a Labour councillor in Bebington who blames United Utilities for leaving the sewerage system with insufficient capacity.

Cllr Jerry Williams told the ECHO : "People concreting over their front gardens has added to a bad problem.

"We’ve had three meetings with United Utilities over the years and the sewers in Acres Road are under-capacity and can’t do the job.

“The key issue is upgrading the sewers, but what United Utilities did in Acres Road was they paid for anti-flooding devices for three or four houses.”

United Utilities echoed the council's claim that heavy rainfall overwhelmed the drainage system on the Wirral.

A spokesperson told the ECHO : "The sheer volume of rainfall overwhelmed the area and led to the incredible flooding scenes we saw yesterday.

"The water simply could not get away fast enough, and early storm intensity data shows it would have overwhelmed any drainage system.

"There's no doubt that these kind of extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and as a society we have to get better at managing surface water.

"As more gardens and green spaces are developed or paved over it increases the amount of run-off into drainage systems.

"We work closely with the planning authorities who have a key role to play in encouraging the adoption of sustainable drainage solutions such as permeable paving."

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