BURTON Fleming is underwater after the worst flooding the village has seen for around 65 years struck over the festive season.
Around 15 of Burton Fleming’s 363 properties have been flooded according to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, while a torrent of water up to 18 inches deep has flowed through the village’s main streets.
Around 2,000 sandbags have been delivered by the council to try and protect homes, while Humberside Fire and Rescue service and the Environment Agency have had five pumps in the village to try and protect properties.
The pumps were taking away 29,000 litres of water per minute at their peak.
The Gypsey Race which runs through the village burst its banks before Christmas due to persistent rainfall, which has caused the water table levels to be at a record high.
This also saw the Gypsey Race swell at Boynton and Rudston, and coming through Bridlington at St John’s Walk.
Many householders in the village have been bailing out water from their homes and gardens since the weekend before Christmas.
At a public meeting arranged by Burton Fleming Parish Council held at St Cuthbert’s Church on New Year’s Eve, villagers aired their concerns while authorities explained their response to the flood.
John Skidmore, head of streetscene services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, thanked Burton Fleming residents for their efforts in protecting the village and said: “Aquifer levels are at a record high, and in some cases water is coming up through the floorboards in some properties.
“We are doing everything we can to help people in the village as part of a multi-agency approach with the Environment Agency, the Parish Council and the emergency services.” Also at the meeting were a number of East Riding Council’s engineering team, who answered a number of tough questions from concerned residents about how they are dealing with clearing flood water.
Engineers explained that as the water table is so high, damming the Gypsey Race further upstream would only provide a few hours respite and could then lead to further problems as water would break the dam and flow faster into the village, potentially causing more damage.
Engineers also said that they must be careful in the way that they divert water away from Burton Fleming, as flooding problems could also occur further downstream at Rudston and Boynton.
Phil Younge, from the Environment Agency at the meeting said that there would be “no quick fixes” but that engineers are working around the clock to ensure the area does not flood again.
“We’ve looked at these options and rejected them, but we are still working to stop this happening again in the future,” said Mr Younge.
“We will now be working our way from Bridlington up the Gypsey Race and trying to pinpoint how to stop this happening.
“This flooding has come as a surprise to us. The natural water level is at a record high and there is not many places it can go. I wish we could tell you there was something we can do to get rid of the water tomorrow, but there isn’t.”
Paul Hayden, of Humberside Fire and Rescue service, said: “I came here on Christmas Eve and our main priority as a fire service was to stop that water getting into people’s homes and that’s what we’ve tried to do. Once the danger has passed, our job is done and we will hand over to the other authorities.
“I must say thank you for the astonishing generosity shown to us by villagers who despite their personal adversity have been helping our crews with warm drinks and food. It has been hugely appreciated.”
Council officials warned that a small amount of sewage had leaked into the flood water, and advised residents to wash their hands before eating or touching other surfaces - and not to allow children to play in the water.
Humberside Police are also on hand in the village, and warned villagers to be wary of “unscrupulous people” who may visit to take advantage of the situation.
Roads into the village are closed, and council officials will make arrangements for children to travel to school next week.
The Willows residential care home, which has 23 residents, some with special needs, are on standby for evacuation if the situation deteriorates any further.
Portable toilets have also been supplied at locations around the village and bin crews collected refuse on Monday afternoon.
WATER LEVEL DROPS
l KEITH Wells, chairman of Burton Fleming Parisn Council, said the mood in the village was more positive as the Free Press went to press on Wednesday morning.
Mr Wells said that a group of farmers and villagers had used a digger to remove debris from the Gypsey Race around a mile outside Burton Fleming, which had caused the water level in the village to drop by an inch or two on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
He said: “As far as I know, debris such as branches and bushes were removed by a farmer and some others from the village and that seems to have helped the situation.
“We had to be careful how we did it and things were done very slowly, as we didn’t want to cause problems further down the Gypsey Race
“I think the mood is now more positive. People can finally get four, five, six hours sleep without having to worry so much about the water rising into their properties.”
Burton Fleming Village Hall is being used as a hub for emergency services and for those who need shelter or cooking facilities.
Anyone in the village who needs to contact an authority or needs help because of the flooding can contact clerk Sarah Marr on 470534 or chair Keith Wells on 470280.
A further public meeting has been tentatively scheduled for 11am on Saturday, January 5. A venue has not yet been confirmed, but it is hoped that St Cuthbert’s Church will again be used.