Third incident in four years

Flooding in Rothbury
Flooding in Rothbury

Four years after their homes were wrecked by rising flood waters, people in Rothbury have again been left at the mercy of the River Coquet.

The devastation wrought by the great flood of 2008 is still painfully fresh, so when the waters began to rise again on Tuesday there was a familiar sense of anxiety among those whose lives were turned upside down.

Council workers, police and fire crews were joined by volunteers in setting up flood barriers as the raging Coquet edged closer to the main B6341 road running past Armstrong Cottages.

Just before 11am, the first line of defences were breached, causing water to spill out over the highway and begin backing up against the low retaining wall of the gardens.

Volunteers set up an electric pump, but when the wall began to spring multiple leaks, it was time to evacuate the residents – many of them elderly – to the safety and warmth of the Jubilee Hall.

Across at The Maltings, emergency workers also helped householders to get clear of their properties after the river inundated garages and flowed through a communal archway.

By midday, however, the water levels had peaked and began to recede. County councillor Steven Bridgett said: “It was a close call for Rothbury, but that is largely down to the preparations made after the 2008 flood by the partner agencies.

“Having officers and staff on the ground who knew the area was critical to our success.”