'We want action to stop Bentley flooding' say residents a year on from 2019 flood

It was 12 months ago that Bentley flooded – with many homes underwater for the second time in 12 years.

By David Kessen
Friday, 6th November 2020, 12:30 pm

But the streets near Yarborough Terrace bear testimony that many in the village are still feeling the effects of the disaster that quietly but dramatically devastated homes on the estate on November 8, 2019.

Walking along from Yarborough Terrace, and up Cromwell Road, the pavements and the street are dry now.

But evidence of the floods can still be seen all around.

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Bentley flood victims Ken and Lynn Melvin, of Cromwell Road

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Many homes have vans parked outside, with workmen hurrying from their vehicles and into nearby property, with barren halls stripped of carpet visible through the doorway.

Others have items piled outside still, perhaps a fridge that has finally been replaced after the disaster 12 months ago.

The scene is the same along Frank Road, regarded by many on the estate as the street that suffered the worst of the flooding.

Jane Clegg, pictured at home in Bentley. Picture: NDFP-03-11-20-FloodBentley 1-NMSY

One resident, sitting in front of her house did not want to be interviewed about what happened. Her house is still not back to the condition it was in before the flooding.

But she recalled 3ft of water in her house at the time.

For many of the residents in Bentley, the last 12 months have seen them living above the flood ravaged ground floors of their homes.

Ken and Lynn Melvin are among those. The couple did not have deep water inside their home on Cromwell Road – but a few inches was enough to cover the carpets and wreck the electrics at their home.

Frank Road, Bentley. Picture: NDFP-03-11-20-FloodBentley 3-NMSY

The double blow for residents like Ken and Lynn was that it was the second time they had flooded in 12 years, following on from a similar experience in 2007.

Lynn is not happy that it happened again.

She said: “When it happened in 2007, they said they’d fixed it. We had to have a piece of paper to this effect to show the insurance companies.

"I was not here when it happened last year. I’d been in Somerset visiting family. When I arrived back the next day, the police wouldn’t let me through the barrier initially. I had to get back though to Ken and our dogs.

8 November 2019...... The RLNI and fire rescue officers evacuate a man with one leg from a property on Yarborough Terrace on a flooded estate in Bentley, Doncaster after the River Don Burst its banks. Picture Tony Johnson

"I got back eventually, and found we were underwater – I just stood and cried when I saw what had happened.

"But we have stayed here throughout, us and the four dogs. There was nowhere we could go. All the electricity had gone off though.

"It was horrible and smelly,” said Ken. “We had to have doors open to deal with that."

Lynn added: "Our insurance company did some work, and paid us off for the rest. I think we’ve still got some problems with the floor.

"Next door are still not in yet.

"It looked as though the council houses were getting sorted quickly – they had people out doing work pretty much straight away, as soon as the houses had dried out enough.

"I think Fishlake probably got it worse than we did, but we had been through this before, and I think it was worse here in 2012.

"But what was wonderful was the community response. There were children coming round with bags of cleaning equipment, and bottles of water. They were wonderful.”

“We feel the Environment Agency should take some of the blame. The feeling locally is that by building up flood walls in Sheffield, they moved the water down stream, and we got flooded.

"We would like to see them build the banking up here, and making sure the pumps work at the Ea Beck.”

Further down the street, Eileen Robinson, said her home was only flooded by around two inches – but that was enough to ruin carpets, furniture and appliances.

She moved to stay with her daughter on the next street. She was insured, and her house has been repaired. Once the water had receded, she too moved in to live upstairs.

She too had been flooded in 2007.

"It is a worry all the time now,” she said. “You worry that it’s going to happen again.”

Round the corner, on Conyers Road, mother and daughter Jane and Tracy Clegg have just started to use the downstairs of their council terrace for the first time in a year.

Mum Jane said: “Compared to some, we didn’t get that much. But we needed to have the carpets replaced, and to have the walls replastered because of the damage that had been caused.

"It has meant that we have been living upstairs here for a year. we have finally just got back to normal, using the downstairs, in the last two weeks.

"We were not insured, so we have had to pay for many things that we lost due to the floods ourselves.”

Tracy had to use her savings – but the family also received help from the community, which Jane said they were grateful for.

She said: “The community has been really helpful. We have a new carpet that came through the church. The church also helped us with a replacement microwave. They were so good.”

She said there were still people trying to get back to normal on the estate, and praised the council key worker that had been working with families locally.

"It’s been a terrible year,” said Tracy. “We have lost a family member, and with the lockdown, it is looking like we’ll not get a Christmas again, like last year.”

The Environment Agency said there was no evidence in a study published this year to suggest flood schemes built in near Sheffield, post 2007, impacted on flood risk downstream. It stated: “The hydrology report confirms that the rivers responded similar ways in 2007 and 2019. Furthermore, as part of any flood defence scheme work we require a flood risk assessment to be undertaken to access and mitigate any potentially adverse impacts as part the design process.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.