When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Talks over Kendal's drainage issues are welcome
11:38am Thursday 5th July 2012 in Westmorland Gazette Comment
Lake District residents are used to the vagaries of the weather but there are times when it still has the capacty to surprise.
One such occasion was last Thursday lunchtime when, around 1pm, the sky started to turn a grim shade of black and yellow.
Minutes later the heavens opened and the area was deluged with a massive downpour.
As thunder and lightning struck, suddenly homes and businesses found that water was lapping at their doorways and seeping into their properties.
Nowhere was the freak nature of the storm more evident than at Kendal’s Highgate where, within just a few minutes of the heavy rain starting to fall, the highway had turned into a swirling river - you really had to be there to believe it! Behind Abbot Hall, meanwhile, water from an overflowing beck was pouring over grassland and the riverside path in a massive waterfall into the River Kent.
Within four hours the rain had gone and the floodwater at Highgate had disappeared.
But the misery continued for those shops and businesses that lost thousands of pounds’ worth of stock and equipment and for those residents of Low Garth on the town’s Hallgarth estate that saw their homes flooded.
Even before the mopping and clearing up could begin, people were calling for urgent action to ensure that the drainage and sewerage systems could cope, and questioning whether the drains had been clear of silt and debris.
In reality, such was the ferocity of last Thursday’s storm that many drainage systems would probably have struggled to cope with the sheer volume of water flooding in.
That, however, is no comfort for those people whose lives and livelihoods have been badly affected.
Whatever the reason for the flooding at Hallgarth and Highgate - where the emergency services were also criticised for not closing the road to stop cars creating ‘bow waves’ - all the authorites concerned must examine what happened and do all they can to ensure the flooding is not repeated.
It is welcome, therefore, that councillors, public utility representatives and residents are to meet next week at Hallgarth to talk through all the issues.