Burnley and Padiham MP Julie Cooper has vowed to help residents and businesses in Padiham affected by the floods – and accepted that initial advice “could have been better.”
The Labour MP was due to meet with traders in the town yesterday during an expected visit from Lancashire County Council loss adjusters.
The Boxing Day floods were the first time in living memory that we have been faced with an emergency situationJulie Cooper
She said: “A small number of businesses, in buildings owned by the county council, are still waiting to reopen.
“We’ve been doing all we can from day one. All the agencies want to get Padiham back on its feet.
“I understand people’s frustrations. I agree that some of the information given out by the borough and county councils could have been better, but this has been an unprecendented situation.
“The Boxing Day floods were the first time in living memory that we have been faced with an emergency situation.
“Having said that, I don’t think we should be complacent. The climate is changing and there is every possibility these floods could happen again.”
Mrs Cooper said she would be meeting the North-West representative from the Environment Agency to discuss ways to improve flood defences in Padiham.
She added: “I have walked the walk along the Calder and Greenbrook in Padiham to see for myself what needs to be done.
“I have listened to local people and will be putting their views to the Environment Agency to put in place protection for Padiham in the future.
“In 2013, the Government was warned that more money needed to be spent on flood defences in the North-West and this was ignored.
“I have written to the Prime Minister with my concerns and I am awaiting a response.”
• Meanwhile, Burnley Council has revealed that, as of Wednesday, it had already paid or approved around two thirds of claims received.
Householders whose properties were flooded during the Boxing Day floods are eligible for an immediate payment of £ 500.
Householders can contact the council on 01282 425011 or fill out a flood assessment form at www.burnley.gov.uk
Anyone who is eligible for this household flood payment will also be automatically contacted by Burnley Council when the details of the Government’s Flood Resilience Grant scheme are finalised.
There will be grants of up to £5,000 to homeowners that have been flooded. Work eligible for funding will improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.
Burnley Council is applying a 100% council tax discount to all properties that were flooded or could not be lived in for any period of time. Companies which were flooded will be eligible for at least three months business rates relief.
Street cleansing workers from Urbaser were out as soon as the water began subsiding on December 27th carrying out a clean-up operation. They have been out every day since doing further clean-ups and distributing cleaning materials.
The council also provided skips to enable residents to get rid of affected household materials. Skips will also be made available to businesses.
A council spokesman said: “Burnley Council is in regular contact with all other relevant agencies, including the Government and the Environment Agency.
“We have already carried out a systematic audit of river banks and potential risk locations.
“This provides detailed evidence to underline the concern from local residents that flood prevention measures are not adequate, and need to be improved in Padiham and in other parts of the borough.”
Burnley Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend had already organised his next out and about surgery in Padiham, at Tesco, on Saturday January 23rd from 10-30am to 12-30pm.
Council officers with Coun. Townsend will now have extra copies of the forms and information about how to apply for funding support for anyone who has not had them so far.
Padiham Town Hall was also significantly damaged in the floods. Assessors believe it will need a new kitchen and flooring.