Christmas in a caravan after summer flooding in Long Bennington

Russell and Sue Winter, who have been living in the pictured caravan since the flooding in August. Photo: Toby Roberts.
Russell and Sue Winter, who have been living in the pictured caravan since the flooding in August. Photo: Toby Roberts.
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Long Bennington residents have expressed their sympathy with the Cumbria flooding victims, with some sharing the prospect of not being able to spend Christmas at home.

On August 24, flash floods hit the area, including over five inches of water that rushed into the home of Sue and Russell Winter, in Vicarage Lane.

Since then, the couple have had to move into a caravan in their garden. They had hoped to be back inside their home by Christmas, but nearly four months later it is still in the process of being dried out. “It looks like we won’t be in until March now,” said Mrs Winter. In the meantime they have also made the difficult decision to give their dog away.

She added: “I feel a lot of sympathy with those flooded in Cumbria. We have to at least be grateful that it happened in the summer months here, as it could have been a lot worse.”

Mr and Mrs Winter were among over 70 residents at a recent public meeting, organised by Long Bennington Parish Council and attended by representatives of the various authorities. Lincolnshire County Council’s area highways manager Mark Heaton outlined how 21 properties were reported as having been “inundated”, and that during their investigation as the lead local flood authority, LCC had identified that as well as there being exceptional rainfall – with 43mm falling in 90 minutes – there were also several contributing factors.

These included a telegraph pole at the end of Acklands Lane which had been installed through a drain, ditches in front of some properties having been infilled, alterations to some dykes causing problems, and soakaways possibly not being maintained.

Planning permissions are also being looked at to ensure they have been implemented correctly, and CCTV cameras have been put through drainage systems throughout the village.

While representatives from Severn Trent and the Upper Witham Internal Drainage Board attended, chair of the parish council Gareth Dawkins said: “The real big disappointment of the evening was the failure of Anglian Water to turn up. We had been promised two representatives, both of whom only let us know right at the last minute they could not attend.”

This was denied by an Anglian Water spokesman, who said there had been confusion over the date between the parish council and the company. “Once we were informed of the date, every effort was made to provide a full update for the meeting, and going forward we will make every effort to ensure Anglian Water representatives are available to attend future meetings organised by the parish council,” the spokesman said.

“I was very disappointed that Anglian Water did not attend,” said Mrs Winter. “I didn’t feel that the various organisations were very supportive. They talk about villagers having filled in ditches, but surely there should be something under planning regulations to stop that happening? I didn’t feel that I got any answers, but left with a lot more questions.”