Ribchester residents ask "Where were our flood defences?"

The Environment Agency returned to a Lancashire village this week - to explain why flood defences were not provided as Storm Ciara raged at the weekend.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 12:57 pm
Ribchester Arms General Manager Liam Fairey outside the flooded pub

Following previous floods it had been proposed that temporary defences could be brought in to protect Greenside in Ribchester should the Ribble's waters rise again.

But after Sunday's floods which poured into a local pub and several local homes and blocked roads villagers were left facing a major clean up operation.

The Ribchester Arms pub on Blackburn Road and homes on Greenside were among those worst hit.

Liz Wilkins mopping up outside her Ribchester home where the water reached 8 inches in her lounge ruining her carpets

The Environment Agency said there was not enough time to deploy th temporary defences.

It said:“The Agency were made aware at 8am on Sunday 9th February that higher amounts of rain than expected were forecasted prompting the need of temporary defences in the area, however due to the late change in the forecast there was not adequate time to install the defences. We were aware of concerns in the local community about temporary defences not being deployed. and as such our staff were in Ribchester on Monday to talk to local residents.”

Staff have since made a further visit to the village.

Liam Fairey, general manager of the Ribchester Arms said a huge clean-up operation is now underway.

Samantha Hubbard helps with the clean-up at the Ribchester Arms

The pub/restaurant flooded on Boxing Day 2015 and was then closed for 101 days. Liam said it is hoped the closure will be much shorter this time - in part due to extensive flood protection work at the property.

He added his parents licensee Phil and mum Tina are away on holiday and he had told them not to rush home.

He said: “Robinson’s (the brewery) have been brilliant and staff have been fantastic.“They all came with their sleeves rolled up. Fridges had flipped over and heavy chest freezers were on

their sides.”

A shed from the local allotments floats down the river Ribble (photo Alan Tomlinson)

He said he was sorry that the venue, popular for big family get togethers and events, was having to cancel a few bookings.

In the middle of the emergency Liam donned a wet suit to take water to a driver whose vehicle had got trapped in several feet of water

on a nearby bridge. He said: “The water came up to my shoulders.”

Val and Steve Ludbrook have lived on Greenside for 36 years and it was the first time their property has flooded. They used a mattress and duvets to block doors and windows to try to delay the waters flooding in. Ribblesdale Road in Ribchester also flooded following Sunday’s storms.