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Rhondda council criticised for failing to fix drains – causing flooding

School street in Cymmer in Rct (Pic: Google Maps)

A RHONDDA resident has said Christmas has been ruined by the impact of flooding at her house and has criticised the council’s lack of help.

Elizabeth Parker, who lives on School Street in Cymmer, was flooded during Storm Debbie on November 13 this year.

She claimed it was because of neglect of rainwater drains by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and that they were refusing to pay out anything as she was insured – but she felt Christmas as well as her and her son’s birthdays had been wrecked as a result.

She said she was now sitting on a dining room chair on a cold concrete floor and it was going to be after Christmas before things were fixed.

On the day of the flooding, she said the drains overflowed and water came right down her steps and through the house and it was dark but she thinks there was about six inches of water.

All her carpets and furniture were damaged and have to be replaced.

When the flooding happened she was sat watching television when the electricity went off.

She thought it was just a surge and that it was going to come back on but it didn’t.

When she went to check the fuse box but as she stood up she noticed the floor was covered in water and then the fire brigade came to help her out.

Elizabeth has lived there for 32 years and said she’d only had flooding twice and she lived nowhere near the local culvert.

She went on to say that the council came but couldn’t find the drain at first, however, when the drain was found there was a tree root in it.

She was also concerned about her pets who she tried to find in the dark when it flooded and some initially attacked her because they were scared.

These included two dogs called Rex and Fly and six cats named Pixie, Hershey, Lula, Maisie, Raffi and Niko.

Elizabeth said the insurers are going to pay out on the contents and she was waiting on a quote for builders so is a bit in limbo on that front.

She is getting people to measure for the flooring and the insurance will cover this but it won’t be done before Christmas.

She also said her electrical goods had been written off and she had lost items she won’t be able to replace such as cards from her late husband, things her children made in school and photographs.

Speaking about the council she claimed: “I felt they were quite rude, that hey didn’t want to do the job, that they didn’t really care.”

Elizabeth said she was told they couldn’t pump the drain out because her car was too close and they had more rain the following day but she managed to prevent it causing any problems on that occasion.

Elizabeth said she had sent letters of complaint but been told by the council that it was not really its problem. She said she tried to put a claim in but the council didn’t want to pay out because she had insurance, so she was “stuck” and the insurance pay out meant her premiums were going to rise.

She claimed: “They’re just not interested” and added “I feel like they don’t care  about the stress and everything else, Christmas and birthdays ruined.”

She added that “it is stressful every time it rains” now. “It’s hard work trying to maintain the house. It is just not fair. I’ve got nothing at the moment. Christmas is gone. Birthdays are ruined.”

A Rhondda Cynon Taf Council spokesman said: “We fully understand the impact that flooding has on the lives of those who are affected, and we can confirm that all policies and procedures in relation to complaints and claims are being followed correctly.

“We can confirm we received a claim for damages by the claimant on 4 December. This was acknowledged on 5 December, and we provided further acknowledgement on 7 December that we were looking into this matter.

“We have not refused any claim at this time, and as this is ongoing claim we cannot comment on this further.

“On the evening in question, all gullies that could be accessed safely were cleaned. The gulley outside the property could not be cleaned immediately as there was a broken down vehicle obstructing access. However, the nearby gulley was cleaned, jetted and flow restored that eased the situation.”