Catcliffe floods: "I escaped Storm Babet on a raft - I had no idea my home would flood"

Flood victims face being out of their homes for a year

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A man who was forced to escape his flooded home on a raft has today said he was 'never told' when buying the property that there is a chance it would flood.

Chris Lloyd and his partner, Sophie, had to leave their home on a raft due to floodingChris Lloyd and his partner, Sophie, had to leave their home on a raft due to flooding
Chris Lloyd and his partner, Sophie, had to leave their home on a raft due to flooding

Chris Lloyd, 55, had to leave his home in the Catcliffe area of Rotherham last Friday because of the flooding caused by Storm Babet.

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More than 120 homes were evacuated from the village, where around 2,000 people live, and many local residents have been forced to stay with family or in hotels.

The flood damaged homeThe flood damaged home
The flood damaged home

Workers from Rotherham Council are in the process of helping residents clear out their properties - now the 6ft high water has gone.

But speaking from outside his home, Chris has said when he purchased his two-bedroom townhouse in 2002, he wasn't told there was a chance it would get flooded.

More flood damage in Catliffe.More flood damage in Catliffe.
More flood damage in Catliffe.

The business owner said: "I've found out that my house flooded in 2000 but I had no idea when I bought it.

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"I accepted that it flooded in 2007 because they said they would get new flood defences and that it wouldn't happen again.

"I'm absolutely gutted that it's happened again - it's just proper cut me.

"I just wasn't aware of the floods in 2000 - I don't know if I was stupid or people just didn't tell me.

"It sounds like it's going to happen forever - we're at the bottom so we're going to cop for all the rain."

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Chris now wants to move out of the area but knows that nobody would be able to even buy or get a mortgage on the house.

He also thinks that even though his house will be able to be fixed in the future, that he doesn't see any point because the flooding will just happen again.

Chris said: "I love this house, I love this estate and I love my neighbours but I want out.

"But who would mortgage this house now?

"What fool would buy it? It's all over the news that these houses are good?

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"The insurance are putting the house together, but for how long?

"It could happen again next year or next month.

"I haven't even got the heart to start planning a kitchen because I know it's going to go again.

"I've now got another 12 months with nowhere to live so we need proper action now.

"What's the point in spending millions on flood defences when they can knock the lot down and put it in back to a floodplain?"

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Chris says he was told after the 2007 floods that his property was built on land that was known for flooding.

He added that he doesn't understand why property developers were allowed to build on there and said he thinks the flooding 'is always going to happen.'

Chris said: "This property was built on land that used to have council houses on them, but the council houses always flooded so the council knocked them down.

"So why on earth were developers allowed to build on the land?

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"If the council knocked it down because they were sick of the houses flooding, then how can they build on it and sell them to us?

"It's always going to happen - it's happened for years apparently.

The business owner says he went to bed on Friday night but was told by authorities that the street wouldn't flood and the defences wouldn't break.

However a neighbour woke him up at 3am and quickly told him and his partner Sophie, 31, to leave his two-bedroom townhouse.

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Chris then had to leave his home 'on a raft' and he headed to a local community centre and 'watched the water just rise and rise.'

He said: "I went to bed Friday night - the road was clear and we were told it wouldn't happen and that the defences wouldn't break.

"A neighbour then knocked on the door at 3am and told us to move our cars and to try and move some stuff.

"By the time we had done moving things, we had to get a raft out of the house.

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"We then watched the water go up and had to stop at the community centre overnight.

"We watched the water just rise and rise and rise.

"It was even rising Saturday night, when it was sunny and dry everywhere else in Rotherham."

Chris, who is also a personal coach, is now being forced to live in a nearby hotel and doesn't know when he will be able to return to his house, which is on Sheffield Lane.

He said: "There's no way we are going to live here - the insurance have said at least 12 months before we can.

"It's just full of sludge and dirt.

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"We're living in a hotel at the moment, we have no idea how we're going to function.

"Our lives are upside down - we can't live in a hotel."

Mike Brennan, 68, also from Catcliffe, was also forced to flee his home because of the floods.

He's also said that nobody from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has contacted him yet and that the Environment Agency 'had no idea' where to tell him to go when the flooding first happened.

Mike said: "Nobody from the council has been in touch - the insurance have been fantastic but there's not been anything from the council.

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"When it happened, I got a knock on the door and I only had 45 minutes to gather some valuables and some stuff and then I had to leave.

"But the man who came to the door was from the Environment Agency and he had no idea where to tell me to go apart from the local Morrisons.

"He didn't tell me that I wouldn't be coming back for days - I didn't even pack a bag so I had to buy some more clothes on Sunday.

"It's been a nightmare."

Mike says he has been told by his insurance company that he won't be able to move back into his property for at least a year.

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But he also will be unable to move out of the area because now 'nobody will want to buy' the house because this could happen again in the future.

Mike said: "I'm staying with family at the moment and I've also been able to get a hotel.

"Now I'm looking for a rental property to live in, the insurance company will be paying for it but it's going to be 12 months before I'm able to move back in.

"I won't be able to move out of the area because I won't be able sell the house as nobody will want to buy it.

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"I am 68 and I had no intention of moving so my question now is, what happens when I come to renew my insurance?

"It's going to cost a fortune for me to get it insured again and whose going to have to pay that? It will probably be me.

"I can't not be insured because there's thousands of pounds worth of damage and I need to put the house right.

"I dread to think about how much the contents of the house are worth and they are putting me in a rental property for a year.

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"It's absolutely going to go up again and I might not even be able to get insured.

"I knew about the floods that happened in 2007 when I moved in but I was told it would never happen again because they've changed the flood defences."

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has been contacted for a comment.

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