Anger after heavy rain floods homes in Houghton just months after flood-prevention work is completed
A Sunderland councillor is calling for answers after homes in his ward were flooded again despite flood defence being carried out last year.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was called to Market Place in Houghton twice on Wednesday, February 3, after reports water was seeping into four properties in the street.
Flood prevention work was completed on the culvert in the town in 2020 after years of campaigning.
Peter Hildreth has lived in the upstairs flat at Number 2 Market Place for almost 20 years and said flooding was a regular problem in the area.
Water has soaked the carpet at the bottom of the stairs after seeping in under the front door.
Peter, 63, said he had been woken by the sound of pumping out and knew immediately the noise meant because the same thing had happened so often before: "I heard the fire engine and knew what it was from that sound,” he said.
"It's not the first time this has happened. I've been here for 18 years and this is about a dozen times. The path at the side slopes down, you've got all the water from the Copt Hill area coming down and the road opposite is a bank - this is the lowest point in Market Place,so everything heads here."
Copt Hill ward member Cllr Kevin Johnston campaigned for flood defence works on the town’s Gravel Walks culvert for more than three years.
Cllr Johnston said at the time that he had “witnessed first-hand the absolute misery” residents suffer from flooding and was delighted that new and improved defences costing thousands of pounds had been approved.
The culvert carries water flow from Houghton Burn to the junction of Gravel Walks, before falling back into the burn. Surveys in the preparation of new defence plans had found corrosion on steel covers and the recommendation was that concrete cover be installed to reduce the risk of collapse.
Wednesday’s flooding is at least the sixth such incident at Market Place since 2002, local residents have said.
Cllr Johnston said he would be demanding answers as to how the problem had been able to reoccur despite the new measures that had been put in place.
“I’m absolutely furious to see this flooding has happened this morning and people are having to go through this misery again after we finally secured funding for the flood defences work to be completed to prevent this, especially when we have these adverse weather conditions,” he said.
“It has happened again and people are once again suffering due to flooding in the Market Place."
The Councillor had said he had hoped that this winter’s bad weather would have been a chance to establish the efficacy of the new measures.
He said: "This should have been a test that the work carried out would stop this and it has failed.”
"I’ll be demanding a full investigation into why this has happened. It’s totally unacceptable and I’ll be taking this to the highest level for answers.”