Flooding in our village on 22/23 November: report

Flooding in Caton-with-Littledale on 22/23 November 2017

On the night of 22/23 November, many areas of Caton-with-Littledale were affected by flooding.  The Parish Council meeting on 12th December began with an Open Forum, attended by about 25 local residents who had been affected by the floods. Cllrs Joan Jackson and Jane Parkinson, who represent our area on Lancaster City Council, were there too.

Areas/properties affected included (from West to East):

Berry Cottage on Lancaster Road (adjacent to Escow Beck)

Millacre Court

Houses on Copy Lane (especially  barn conversion to North of the road)

Houses in and near The Croft

Houses on Ashcroft Close

The Ship Inn

Houses at the North end of Artlebeck Road

The Black Bull

Moorside Road –several  homes flooded by run-off, road blocked by gravel and water from Reservoir Lane

Caton Green – several homes badly damaged, Hillcroft Nursing Home affected

In addition, the becks flowing through the village – Kirk Beck, Tarn Beck, Bull Beck, Artle Beck, Escow Beck – all have damage to their banks affecting neighbouring gardens and bridges/culverts.  Areas of particular concern include the Artle Beck upstream of the bridge across Brookhouse Road, and Tarn Beck.

Key points from the meeting on the causes of the flooding included :

  • The flooding in our parish was caused by unprecedented rainfall over a small area , including Caton Moor and Clougha Pike
  • Surface run-off caused the flooding in just about every case.
  • Large volumes of water poured down the hills and off fields throughout the parish.
  • Run-off along public/surfaced roads was intense, especially in the Quernmore Road/Copy Lane/Croft/Ashcroft Close area; Artlebeck Road; Caton Green
  • Unmade roads caused problems in some areas, as gravel became unstable and washed away
  • Drains and culverts are often not built large enough
  • Many drains and gullies were blocked before the floods, even though problems had been reported to the authorities weeks before
  • In some areas problems were exacerbated by poor local maintenance, such as a failed sewage pump at Greenfield Yard
  • Riparian landowners do not clear fallen trees and other obstacles from the banks of streams, and this debris causes huge amounts of damage downstream

Comments on response during the floods included:

  • Complaints that the Lancashire County Council Depot in Caton was not opened to make sandbags available to local householders. Emergency number not answered.
  • Praise for individual emergency workers
  • Worry that the number of appliances stationed locally is completely inadequate
  • Thanks to people who came with the appliances from Hornby and Accrington as well as the local Fire Brigade
  • Regretthat in pumping out one person’s home the water was simply sent on its way to flood someone else
  • Emergency personnel were not aware that the Victoria Institute is the Emergency Centre for the village, so people affected by flooding were not sent there for refuge
  • Huge amount of help from neighbours and other local residents to people affected by flooding.
  • Was a Major Incident declared?
  • More police presence would have been welcome to reassure residents

Next steps

  • Parish Council to contact city and county councillors to report on the local situation and issues raised, also relevant officers at Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council.Also Environment Agency and United Utilities.
  • Investigate setting up local flood response groups within the parish,such as that in Whalley and Billington, to supplement our existing Community Emergency Coordinators
  • Parish Council to find out more about individual flood prevention measure which householders could implements, such as flood gates and Floodsacks. [Lancaster City Council; to make Floodsacks to be available from Victoria Institute – 15 December].
  • Pressurise Lancashire County Council and other authorities to keep up regular maintenance and have enough equipment available to do so.
  • Encourage planning authorities to oblige developers to do more to manage flood risk arising from new developments.
  • Establish which agency is responsible for the watercourses in our parish, and contact them about maintenance, especially removing obstacles and stabilising the banks.
  • Encourage “Slow The Flow” measures to reduce run-off from the hills and retain water in teh uplands
  • Parish Council to aim to organise a public meeting in January or February on measures to prevent further flooding of this sort, involving a wide range of authorities.(This to be arranged after the multiagency meeting organised by Lancaster City Council on 11th January).




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