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Volunteers in Whalley rally to stop floods

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Local volunteers and the fire service worked for hours to prevent flood damage to properties in Whalley following a spell of heavy rain.

The River Calder peaked at just below 3 metres and two roads flooded on Monday posing a risk of damage to neighbouring homes, says The Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group

Broad Lane was flooded following heavy rain PIC: Peter Duckworth

Broad Lane was flooded following heavy rain PIC: Peter Duckworth

Members of the voluntary group were mobilised following reports of the flooding on King Street and Broad Lane during the early part of the evening.

On Broad Lane hydrosacks were used to successfully divert water away from properties and fire crews used specialist equipment to pump the water away from a home.

Meanwhile, volunteers on King Street diverted traffic around flooding near to the pre-school and helped to clear a culvert that had become blocked.

Director for the Whalley and Billington FLAG, Andrew Ronnan said: "Broad Lane is presently closed and the diligent work yesterday volunteers James, Peter Duckworth and Neil Martin prevented property damage.

The culvert on King Street had become blocked PIC: W&B FLAG

The culvert on King Street had become blocked PIC: W&B FLAG

"I have had a long conversation with DW Homes Technical Director Tony Sutton and have been assured that he will liaise with Local Authorities to resolve the issue of water escaping from their site during construction.

"Longer term I have advised him that there is an ancient watercourse on their eastern boundary that in my view given land height alterations now requires flow training.

"There should be no reliance on Broad Lane's highway gullies whatsoever.

"On King Street an absolute disaster was averted once again yesterday as the trash screen blocked to its new limit.

"Jon Smith, Tony Brown, Paul Nuttall, June Brown, Liz Whyte and myself dealt with it until LCC arrived from the depot.

"The phone number on the wall is simply of no use out of hours. We got through to LCC by dialling 999. It needs changing.

"The new trash screen was a fantastic improvement to what Jon had bravely battled with before.

"Most of all, we need to see action from United Utilities to redesign their manhole chamber adjacent to the Trash Screen in King Street.

"It has to be said though that our village cannot rely on a few local residents with a combined age of around 400 years forever."

Fire crews from Clitheroe spent around four hours at the scene helping to pump water away from homes.

A spokesman for the fire service said: "We were called out to reports of around 3ft of water collecting on Broad Lane.

"The water was at risk of entering homes and crews used pumps and hydrosacks to pump water away."

Flood Action Group Coordinator, Neil Martin said: "The authorities attended Broad Lane and things are currently under control.

"As one of the Flag Coordinators I attended the scene to offer help to the local warden team who called with their concerns.

"They where helping to clear a blocked drain when I attended. We brought some of the hydrosacks purchased from the Whalley Lions flood fund to successfully divert water from one of the local properties at risk."

Dwayne Lowe, area highways manager for Lancashire County Council, said: "We were called out to an isolated issue of surface water flooding on Broad Lane, Whalley, last night.

"Our officers provided sand bags to residents and worked with the fire service and volunteers from the local flood action group to ensure that no properties flooded.

"The main cause of the flooding was a period of heavy and prolonged rainfall in addition to large quantities of water coming from a housing development nearby.

"Our gully clearing teams have been on site today inspecting the drains, to make sure that they are as clear as possible.

"We will also work closely with the developer to reduce the chance of this happening again."

A spokesman for David Wilson Homes North West, said: “We are working closely with Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group (FLAG) and Lancashire County Council to ensure that surface water run-off is managed throughout construction at our Monk’s Cross development.

“As part of our agreement with Lancashire County Council, we will be cleaning out the existing ditch and gullies parallel to Broad Lane.”

Fire crews left the scene on Broad Lane at just before midnight.