Damage across St Albans district following severe weather

Kris Day, grandmother of Rhys Day whose flat in Tennyson Close was flooded when a nearby balancing p

Kris Day, grandmother of Rhys Day whose flat in Tennyson Close was flooded when a nearby balancing pond overflowed after heavy rain. - Credit: Archant

Severe weather swept the district in the early hours of Friday, leaving numerous areas with flood damage.

Traffic chaos ensued when more than 120,000 litres of surface water, equivalent to 1,500 bathtubs, were cleared from the M25 between junctions 21A and 19 near St Albans.

Many residents were also affected. Firefighters were called out to hundreds of incidents across the county, including one in Tennyson Road in Chiswell Green, where two council flats were flooded with sewage water due to a blocked drain.

Rhys Day had to have brand new carpets stripped, and most of his furniture, clothes and other possessions were left sodden with sewage water.

He managed to salvage some electrical items while firefighters were pumping out the water, but the rest of his flat is still in disarray.

Rhys has been living at his mother’s one bedroom flat while the district council attempt to make the property safe to live in.

The 19-year-old, who is on jobseeker’s allowance, will have to pay for most of the repairs himself due to the fact his contents insurance ran out recently.

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But despite being told he could move in by the end of the week, concerns are mounting about whether this could happen again.

His grandmother, Kris Day, said there had been previous instances of flooding and said the issue needs to be solved before the next bout of heavy rainfall.

She added: “If this is an ongoing thing that’s happened again this year it’s going to happen again. They are aware that this is a problem so they should do something about it.

“If this was a private landlord there would be hell to pay.

“We can’t have this every time I think it’s disgusting that they let [the flat] knowing that this is a problem.”

Joanne Turner, tenancy services and performance manager for St Albans district council, said: “We have no record of previous flooding at this property. There was an issue with the drains in 2014 but these were cleared and there have been no problems reported since.”

She said that the flooding was caused by a run-off pond and the drains for the nearby North Orbital Road were overwhelmed by the rainfall.

Joanne went on: “Our officers and contractors were at the scene very quickly to assess the problem and what could be done to assist the two tenants who were affected.”

Both tenants affected by the flood were offered temporary accommodation at a nearby hotel, but Rhys declined at stayed at his mother’s.

Joanne added: “Our contractor has been drying out the property and will begin repairs as soon as that is done. It is hoped that the tenants will be able to return at the end of the week.

“We will be talking to Herts Highways to see if they can take measures to ensure there is not a recurrence should there be a similar downpour in the future.”