Residents and business people of Padiham have hit out at Burnley Borough Council’s handling of the devastating Boxing day floods.
Padiham town centre was submerged in water following the heavy Christmas deluge causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to many homes and businesses.
The community swung into action, but residents vented their anger at a specially arranged council drop-in session at Padiham Leisure Centre this week.
Mr David Healy, who lives in Melbourne Street with his partner Heather Hill and their one-year-old child, said the floods had left his family devastated.
“In the run-up to Christmas we moved a lot of things into our cellar to make space for presents. This included a corner suite and Heather’s college artwork. I opened the cellar door on Boxing Day and there was 2ft. of water in there. Everything was ruined.
“This council event has been a sham. We were told to just fill in a sheet and go. We came along expecting some officers to give us advice but there was nothing.”
We’ll be working closely with partner organisations to distribute funds and try to make the process work as smoothly as possibleCouncil Leader
Mr Kevin Curry, who owns Central Cafe in Padiham, said water was up to his knees on Boxing Day. “We’ve had no help from the council. I only heard about this event on Facebook but no-one has given us any advice. We had to spray chemicals in our cafe and we could be closed for another three weeks.”
Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “After the work carried out by the emergency services, with support from volunteers and residents, the focus now is on taking action to help people and businesses get back to normal.
“Government funding will be extended to those households affected, and this is welcome. We’ll be working closely with partner organisations to distribute these funds and try to make the process work as smoothly as possible.”
Mick Cartledge, the council’s director of community services said: “We’re drawing up a list of all households and businesses that were affected so we have a clear idea of where support is needed. We’re encouraging anyone who thinks they are eligible for financial or other support to get in touch with us so we can help those most in need.
“We are trying to make sure that people affected by the flooding get the £500 payment as soon as possible to help them get back on their feet and payments have already been made to a number of residents.
“Council staff have visited the worst affected areas to gauge the impact of the flooding and gather information on properties affected. The council has also held a drop-in session in Padiham, the worst hit area of the borough, to enable residents to provide information on how they have been affected and to help speed up the payment process.
“Environment Agency flood ambassadors will be visiting affected residents and businesses in Padiham tomorrow (Thursday 7th January) to offer advice.
“Council staff and partners, such as our waste contractor Urbaser, were out on Boxing Day and the following days doing what they could to help residents and we’ve been working hard since then to support residents and businesses.
“The council would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who played a fantastic role in the clear up operation in Padiham.”