Flooded Twice: Spencer Court in Walbottle, Newcastle

I’ve been blogging about last Thursday’s storm in the North East and how awful it is to have your home flooded…but some residents of Spencer Court in Walbottle in Newcastle, have been flooded TWICE in the last month.

Flood Number One

First on Sunday 10th June an underground culvert collapsed causing a half-mile long reservoir to fill Newburn Dene.

The water then swamped a new development of flats. Around 20 homes were evacuated.

A major operation began to drain a half-mile stretch of flood water that’s come to the surface and divert the water from the culvert.

Flood Number Two

But then the estate was hit with last Thursday’s floods too. Many of the flats were flooded for a second time and the houses next door were also affected.

Now many of the homeowners can’t return home – possibly for up to a year – amid fears the properties they’ve invested in are structurally unsafe. I was at a public meeting with the landowners and the council on Monday 2nd July at 6pm.

Before the meeting I updated Stephanie Finnon and John Harle on BBC Newcastle:

The residents of the whole estate are concerned that their houses could flood at anytime – and that puts them in limbo as far as reselling or insurance is concerned.

These houses were made by Dunelm Homes who have not accepted liability (at time of writing) since Northumberland Estates own the land the culvert is on. They say their hearts go out to the residents and they’re offering help and advice where they can.

But Northumberland Estates haven’t accepted liability at this stage either, since the homes are not on their land.

Complications to the groundwork

Northumberland Estates sold the land that Dunelm homes later built on about 150 years ago, and they say in that time there’s been a lot of activity on and around the site. Amongst other structural changes, there are mineshafts under the surface. Dunelm told me these were assessed before the land was built on and planning permission was granted, certifying that the ground was safe for construction.

What we do know however is that many of the residents have noticed shifts in their land, such as gardens sloping where they didn’t slope before, doors tightening and cracks appearing in the walls of their properites.

The Future

Now the residents must wait to find out if there’s any structural damage to their homes and who, if anyone, is resposnible for repairing the damage both to their homes but also to the devaluation of their houses.

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