Trolley and debris causes Withycombe road to flood

PUBLISHED: 12:29 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 12:12 10 June 2010

RESIDENTS were forced to flee their homes and pedestrians leapt to safety after part of Withycombe Village Road collapsed. Tarmac above a culvert on the minor road, near to Withycombe Methodist Church, crumbled away last Thursday, October 22, leaving a la

RESIDENTS were forced to flee their homes and pedestrians leapt to safety after part of Withycombe Village Road collapsed.

Tarmac above a culvert on the minor road, near to Withycombe Methodist Church, crumbled away last Thursday, October 22, leaving a large hole and caused properties to flood.

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said the culvert was blocked by debris which including a shopping trolley. The damage left a trench, more than 4ft deep and 10ft wide.

Cottages at the bottom of the road, near Withycombe Brook, were badly-hit, with up to eight inches of floodwater pouring into the properties.

The deluge of water made the church centenary garden, opposite the homes, barely recognisable.

Piles of rubble, which contained sinks and rotten guttering, could be seen mounted in the back garden of the church on Saturday as the clean-up operation started.

Alison Suttill, 59, of Withycombe Village Road, was at work at the time of the flooding.

She said: "When I got home the road was bordered off. I was surprised with what happened and had to go through the church to come out at the other end."

Janice Bryan, from the Methodist church, said she worked extremely hard last Saturday to clean parts of the church which was badly damaged.

"We had to Detol all the carpets and seats. We wiped all the pews and work surfaces - everything with anti-viral washing pads," she explained.

"Staff from The Environmental Health, who came on Saturday, explained everything we had to do.

"The boiler was checked because the water went into the cellar and the firemen pumped it all out. One house at the bottom of the road had eight inches of water.

"Residents had to walk through the church and out in order to access their homes. Two or three had to evacuate and go to other people's houses."

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said it was expected repair work on the hole would take a number of weeks to complete.

She added: "We are not certain of the condition of the rest of the original brick culvert and will schedule a complete condition inspection to be carried out to identify any other sections that might be in need of attention.


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