Flood defences held firm ... but our road turned into a raging torrent

Cllr Steven Bridgett with Netherton residents Peter McParlin, Jen McParlin and Alexandria Wynter-Smith.
Cllr Steven Bridgett with Netherton residents Peter McParlin, Jen McParlin and Alexandria Wynter-Smith.

Householders in a north Northumberland village are demanding action, after floodwater bypassed £100,000 worth of defence works.

While the earth bunds, overflow channels and flood-walls built at Netherton served their purpose in last week’s deluge, they didn’t stop the main road through the village turning into a river.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

It then poured into a number of properties, including the home of Peter and Jen McParlin, where a wall designed to keep the Netherton Burn out of their garden ended up trapping water which was instead cascading down their drive. Mr McParlin, of Southside, had to remove sandbags to allow it to run out into the stream.

Alexandria Wynter-Smith’s home, on the opposite side of the road, was also affected.

Both blame a lack of works at the Netherton Bridge, a few hundred metres up the road, for the devastating consequences of the flood, which hit them at 4am last Tuesday.

Mr McParlin said: “In the main, the flood defences worked. The problem was that the burn overflowed at the bridge, sending water onto the main road. It then came down our drive, into our garden and then our home.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

“It was terrifying, it sounded like a jet engine. It was pitch black outside, you couldn’t see a thing – it was a death-trap.”

Mr McParlin says that his insurance company has estimated the latest damage to his home to be in excess of £35,000.

In the 2008 flood, the cost was three times that amount.

“We knew after 2008 that the bridge was a major problem, but there has been a great lack of interest from the authorities in doing something about it,” he added.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

Flooding at the McParlin home at Netherston Southside.

“The flood defences are no good if the water is diverted onto the road instead.

“We need someone to find a solution and that will involve remedial work on the bridge.”

County councillor Steven Bridgett said: “I am convening a meeting of those residents who have been affected once again, along with parish councillors and the flood committee,

“I am also inviting representatives from Natural England and the county council who are ultimately responsible; so we can get to the bottom of the problems and come up with a solution to deal with this hopefully once and for all.

“This cannot be allowed to continue and both Natural England and the county council have a duty of care towards the residents of Netherton to ensure it does not.”