The flooding of Hartopp Road with seawater has led to a ‘lovely atmosphere’ and a sense of community spirit a resident has said.

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Since last Wednesday, May Gurney has worked round the clock to re-open the road and they have been spotted carrying residents over the floodwater so they can get home.

In return, residents have been refuelling the workers with tea and biscuits.

The top of the road, opposite the Park Hotel, was closed after it was submerged under four inches of seawater.

It came pouring through a manhole cover and the road surface last Wednesday night. The cause was a faulty water drainage ‘trapdoor’.

The emergency overflow pipe for the Phear Park pumping station is in Hartopp Road, which drains surface water out into the estuary.

A ‘non-return valve’ stops seawater from entering the network, but once the valve failed, high tide forced it through the weakest point; a newly laid road surface and a manhole cover.

Hartopp Road resident Doreen Slade, 72, said: “The water didn’t appear to enter any of the homes and it created a lovely atmosphere. The workmen did a fantastic job and they were very helpful.

“It is a long way round to walk with shopping bags, so they carried some people and, in return, residents made them tea and biscuits. We have super neighbours here.

“It was real community spirit; it gave a sense of what it was like during the war, everybody pitching in to help each other.”

A spokesman for South West Water said that repairs would take until the end of the week, and then the road will be re-opened.

She added: “We would like to reassure our customers that the flood water was salt water from the estuary, not sewage.

“We would like to apologise to affected customers and thank them for their patience while we work to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”

Councillors Steve Gazzard and Eileen Wragg offered sandbags to householders and Cllr Wragg, a member of Southwest Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, said: “I can’t fault Southwest Water.

“They have warned that any more development in the north of the town will have a knock on effect; the water has to go somewhere.”

Go to www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterlive.

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