Family ‘living at bottom of water slide’ as home floods cause £100,000 of damage

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Kate Marlow, 32, from Bridgend, Wales, cannot bear the thought of losing her belongings again after her home has been flooded four times in less than two years, causing more than £100,000 worth of damage

A family whose home keeps flooding have compared staying at the property to ‘living at the bottom of a water slide’.

Kate Marlow, from Bridgend, Wales, said her home has flooded four times in less than two years, causing more than £100,000 worth of damage.

The 32-year-old said the problems started when Storm Dennis struck in February last year, WalesOnline reports.

Water poured into the home, which she shares with her mum, brother and five dogs, ruining everything apart from the top floor.

She said: “We moved into our house in August 2018 and all was fine until Storm Dennis arrived in early 2020.

“All this water came running down the mountain road opposite and went right through the garage and into our home – the bottom two floors of which are technically below ground level because the house is built on a gradient.”

She added that everything other than the top floor was ruined – furniture destroyed, ceilings put through – and the family were forced to move into temporary accommodation while the clean-up and repair work took place.

“Unfortunately, because of our dogs, the closest pet-friendly place we could find was in Barry – nearly 18 miles away – and the arrival of Covid restrictions meant we ended up stuck there for 17 months,” she added.

However, an initial council review deemed the incident a one-off, attributable to the freak conditions brought about by the storm.

But, 10 days later, the same thing happened again – and then for a third time in January 2021.

“On that occasion I’d driven back from Barry to let the painters and decorators in, only to find inside was soaking wet,” said Kate.

“And now it’s happened for a fourth time following that awful weather we had earlier this week.

“That said, none of our neighbours ever seem to be affected – they can’t work out why it keeps happening and neither can we.”

Bank worker Kate said her home is the only property on the road that is repeatedly hit by flood water whenever there’s heavy rainfall.

“There’s just farm land above us, along with an old quarry from which any excess water would drain away in different directions,” she said.

“Maybe something’s changed to alter the route of that run-off, I just don’t know.

“We’ve had a look around and none of the nearby culverts seem to be blocked or anything.

“What I am sure of though is that it’s like living at the bottom of a water slide and whenever it starts raining heavily any hope of being able to sleep at night goes out the window.

“It’s so stressful. We’ve reached out to the council for help but, after being told they’d look into it, we’ve heard nothing. Our last contact with them was back in February.

“And while our insurance company has been very good so far, there’s a limit to how often they’ll be willing to pay out.

“I just can’t bear the idea of losing everything yet again.”

A spokesperson from Bridgend County Borough Council said, “We have maintained contact with the residents at this address and visited the property as recently as this week.

“A great deal of work has been carried out to try and determine the source of the flooding. While it appears to occur during exceptionally heavy rainfall, the cause is not linked to the council-maintained drainage network.”

He added that following investigations and discussions with local private landowners a scheme has been developed which would enable inlet headwalls – small retaining structures placed at the entrance of storm water pipes or culverts – to be improved on a nearby private road.

“During severe weather, this would seek to mitigate excess water from running down the road and affecting the property in the event that the sheer volume proves to be too much for the inlets to cope with,” the spokesman said.

“However, this work requires both landowner approval and funding from Welsh Government before it can be implemented.

“While it is progressing, we are looking at other options for capturing surface water run-off in the area, and have contacted local landowners to discuss issues such as clearing debris from existing inlet grids, their rights and responsibilities around water courses and more.”