Family home flooded in Buckden due to 'tree roots clogging up drains'
- Credit: Family
A family with a newborn baby - who are now living in an Airbnb after their house was wrecked by floods - found that tree roots had caused blockages in drains in their street.
Rebecca Douglas, who lives in Buckden High Street with her partner and two children, described the flooding two days before Christmas as an “absolute nightmare”.
When heavy rain hit the region on December 23, the family and their two dogs were forced to leave their home after floodwater gushed inside.
After living there for five years, they watched in despair as tables, sofas and possessions were washed up.
They stayed upstairs while neighbours over the road – some in their 80s – were rescued by fire crews from bedroom windows.
“There was no way we could get out – the water was about 2ft deep,” Rebecca explained.
“Ten to 15 houses were effected in the village; it was an absolute nightmare.
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“It continued to rain for another hour until the road was completely flooded.”
Residents had feared that drains in the street had not been cleared for years – but it was only when council officials visited that they found large tree roots growing inside.
“It was obvious why they got blocked so quickly,” Rebecca continued.
“When I spoke to the council on Christmas Eve they said nothing could be done at that point, so we should just put a claim in.
“When officers came out, they said the drains had been completely clogged up by the tree roots.
“We’re now in an Airbnb for six to nine months until the house dries out.
“The walls have had to be ripped out, the stair case may need to come down, all of the downstairs has been gutted.”
The family had to spend Christmas with friends dealing with endless calls to insurance companies.
Rebecca fears that if the drains aren’t properly assessed and regularly cleaned then they could be in the same situation again.
“The impact it has had on our lives has been tremendous,” she added.
“The place where we are staying now is not our home – this has turned our lives around.
“My worry is will this happen again or will the council properly investigate this?”
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “The flooding incidents over Christmas were an unfortunate end to the year and resulted in disruption and misery to many people across Cambridgeshire.
“The rainfall from the storms on 23 December 2020 was almost three times the monthly average rainfall for December. As a result, we have received over 450 reports of flooding to land, property and the public highway throughout the county, which is an unprecedented volume of incidents for the council to investigate and clearly shows the scale of the impacts of this storm.
“As part of our investigations we’re working closely with partners including the Environment Agency and District Councils, there will be a partnership meeting this week to look at the lessons learnt from these floods and we’ll be sharing the information we have received.
We’re sorry to hear about what happened to Rebecca and her family, a Local Highways Officer has been to inspect the drains and ordered for them to be cleaned and for the roots to be removed. The road has also been added to the drain cleaning programme for regular cleaning to try and prevent blockages in future. We will get in touch with our district partners to ensure the family have any additional support they might need.”