Flooded Williton couple face months of waiting before returning home

Somerset County Gazette: Christine and Doug Human at their High Street home. PHOTO: Steve Guscott Christine and Doug Human at their High Street home. PHOTO: Steve Guscott

A COUPLE say their lives are ‘on hold’ after being told it will be months rather than weeks until they can return to their flooded Williton home.

Christine and Doug Human are living in a holiday home in Watchet while they wait for their 300-year-old cottage to dry out following the severe floods of late November.

Christine said: “Our insurers (NFU) originally estimated we would be out of our house for six to eight weeks but after doing a proper survey they realised things were worse than they had initially thought.

“The support we have received from the NFU has been tremendous. They are always available and very comforting as they deal with all our issues.

“We haven’t actually progressed much because we haven’t been able to dry the house out fully. It is just a question of waiting because this continuing wet weather isn’t helping.

“We have had three flood alerts in the two months since the worst of the flooding and every time that happens we have to rush down to the house and lift all the electricals off the floor.

“We moved into the property in 2005 and we had just got it how we wanted it; suffice to say, it’s not any more.

“It’s really all we think about. Our lives are on hold for now. We are hoping to be back in by June.”

The Humans were just two of dozens of villagers who attended a meeting organised in the wake of the floods by Williton Parish Council, chaired by Cllr Robert McDonald.

Representatives from the Environment Agency, West Somerset Council, Somerset County Council and the Wyndham Estate formed a panel gathered to answer people’s questions.

Several potential solutions to prevent future flooding were debated, including attenuating the water upstream of Williton – claimed to be the most effective but expensive option.

But agency representatives said there was no money available to carry out the work needed and that villagers would have to work together to make things happen.

Christine added: “I found the meeting very helpful and appreciated all the agencies turning up but overall it seems that the only people who can help are the villagers.

“At the end of the day, unless they do something significant to the river, this will keep on happening.”

Mr McDonald said: “Yes, we have got a problem and yes, it looks like we have to do things ourselves. We have to look seriously at where we can get funding from.

“As far as I am concerned, it was a very good evening and it achieved what we wanted it to achieve.

“We will set down an emergency village plan because I have never felt so helpless in all my life as when I walked around the village during the worst of the floods.

“Hopefully in the months or years to come we may be able to come up with a plan whereby we can do something about the flood water. Even if it’s self-help, we will roll our sleeves up and get stuck in.”

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