Family's £900k home now "worthless" after being flooded with raw sewage twice in three years

A family's £900,000 dream home is now "worthless" after being flooded with raw sewage - twice in the last three years. Helen and Ashley Northway’s 17th century stone farmhouse was overflowing with foul water after heavy rain swept the UK last week. The six-bedroom property was overwhelmed despite £230,000 being spent on flood defences and drain upgrades in their village in 2021. The couple’s home sits in a natural dip in the centre of Raunds, Northants., which has been hit with flooding in recent years. On Christmas Eve 2020 the family desperately tried to save presents and valuables after the entire ground floor of their home was under 3ft of water. Because of bad drainage and a faulty sewage pipe, foul waste swept into the house, leaving the family with a huge clean-up bill. The couple complained to Northamptonshire Highways and engineers repaired misconnected sewage pipes and built two soakaways to absorb surface water at a cost of £230,000. But just over two years later, the family’s property was once again submerged after last week’s downpours. After being exposed to raw sewage, the couple, their 10-month-old daughter Evelyn, 10-year-old disabled son Archie and Helen’s 89-year-old grandmother June, all fell ill. Recruitment manager Helen, 42, said: “We are all very sick now. “All five members of my household had to be assessed by an emergency doctor and prescribed antibiotics for chest infections, following exposure to the raw sewage, and thereafter chemicals to treat it. "My husband has been coughing up blood. "With vulnerable people including my elderly grandmother and young baby being affected with chest infections, I am not willing to allow this to drag on as there is serious risk to health, let alone the property damage.” Helen and husband Ashley, 43, a veteran army bomb disposal expert with the Royal Engineers, bought the house in 2017. They spent £200,000 converting the 380-year-old building into a family home including a fully-equipped annexe for Helen's grandmother. The couple, who were childhood sweethearts, hoped the property would prove to be an investment for their children when they got older. However, they say it is now “worthless” and are unable to sell it or insure it against future flooding. Helen said: “Before we bought the house, there had been two floods in 100 years but since we moved in, there have been two in three years. “Every time it rains, we know we are at serious risk of being flooded out. It means we cannot leave the house. “We have had to cancel holidays, attending funerals, even our honeymoon was cut short so we could come back and pump out water. "Whenever we go out we are glued to the weather forecast in case it rains. “We have spent a lot of money converting the house and what we have now is a nigh on £1million house which we were hoping to leave to our children but is now a massive life-long problem.” Helen also blames a sprawling 400-home development which has been built at the end of her road for increasing the pressure on the drains. She said: “The drains here can’t cope already and now we’ve got 400 houses adding to that pressure. “The developers cut down about 20 huge trees which acted as a natural flood defence but they are all gone. “I can see rain water sweeping down the road from the new estate which collects right outside our house. “It doesn’t take much more rainfall to send it spilling into our home. “We use submersible pumps and put barriers on our doors and windows but none of that worked last week when we were just overwhelmed.” Since the road repairs were carried out the family have called out the fire service to pump water from the street outside their home into the nearby brook multiple times. Helen added: “We’ve had Drainline come in excess of 20 times in the last year. “It takes them two hours and I estimate it costs £2,000 a time coming out of taxpayers’ money. “The flooding is worse than it’s ever been. This has been the worst since the Christmas floods. “We keep an eye on it all the time. We can’t go on holiday and we’ve had to come back early from a funeral because it started to rain. "During the latest floods, my grandmother was so distressed she was crying and crying and saying ‘I want to be dead, I want to be dead’. "It’s horrific. There’s a threat to human health – mental and physical. “We are uninsurable for floods now. The house has been valued at between £850,000 and £900,000 but its worthless now. "We’ve worked all our lives, my husband has served the country but what are our children going to be left with?” Ashley, who now works in a secondary school, said: "I’ve served all over the world but I only have nightmares about the floods. It’s having an effect on us all." The family have been in regular contact with Tom Pursglove, Conservative MP for Corby and East Northants. He said: “Any new development must take flooding risk fully into account and any mitigation schemes must be sufficiently robust to address it.” A North Northants Council spokesman said: “Investigations are ongoing due to the cause of flooding to the property.”