Residents who were left stranded in their homes for hours as a Chingford street was flooded are blaming Thames Water and the Environment Agency (EA) for failing to prevent the incident, which many feel was preventable.
Mandeville Court and Lower Hall Lane residents woke in the early hours of Saturday morning to find up to 60cms of water surrounding their homes, forcing the fire brigade to use an inflatable boat to ferry residents to and from dry land.
The flood sluice was opened during the morning by the Environment Agency and Thames Water, leaving questions as to why the decision was not made earlier.
One resident, Neil Magill, said the River Lea has flooded the area three times in four years.
The 49-year-old, whose Ford Fiesta has been damaged, said: “It’s terrible. At the end of the day what they’re here for is to inform people that there’s flooding. If they warned us we could’ve moved our cars. They need to be more on the ball.”
Valley ward councillor Jemma Hemsted, who lives in Mandeville Court, said residents have suffered again, possibly due to incompetence.
“Last time it was due to a sluice gate not being opened in time and I sincerely hope that isn’t the case in this instance as if so it would show gross incompetence, negligence and indifference to people’s lives and property which is simply not acceptable,” she said.
No homes were damaged, although one garage and several cars were damaged extensively, according to the EA.
Firefighters placed sandbags around an electrical station as a precaution.
The water had receded by around 1pm.
Ama Afrifa-Kyei, a diversity inclusion specialist who lives in Mandeville Court, said: “That was my first flood experience and I certainly wouldn’t want to experience it again.
“I think it’s ridiculous in this day and age that nothing was done to stop it happening.”
Another resident, Mary Jones, whose brother-in-law died yesterday, was forced to take taxis to visit her family while her water-damaged car was being fixed.
“The flood added to the panic and it was very inconvenient, but that’s nature,” she said.
An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “Thames Water will be monitoring the situation going forward and will attend to operate the sluice gates again when necessary.
“We do not anticipate any further issues.”
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