Nurse ‘stood and cried’ as house flooded following heavy rainfall

An NHS nurse has said he “stood and cried” as flood water spilled into his property “within minutes” following heavy rainfall on Wednesday.

Paul Jones-King, 48, from Loftus, North Yorkshire, said it is the second time within a year that his property in St Hilda’s Place has flooded, and the third time since 2020.

The area flooded previously during the summer of 2023, with Mr Jones-King saying he feels “emotion and anger” of “here we go again”.

A hallway with flood water across the floor
Paul Jones-King said his property flooded ‘within minutes’ on Wednesday (Paul Jones-King/PA)

“It happened within minutes and there’s absolutely nothing you can do other than open the front (door), turn the electrics off and wait for the fire brigade to come and start pumping and watch it run through your house,” Mr Jones-King told the PA news agency.

“I work shifts and I worry every time I go to to work that the house will flood if the weather is bad.

“You watch the weather on a daily basis, you become obsessed with the weather forecast in case we’re issued with a weather warning.

Furniture stacked on top of each other while the property dries out
Paul Jones-King said his property is now ‘drying out’ but there are further issues with damp (Paul Jones-King/PA)

“I just stood and cried yesterday (Wednesday) and watched it come in. It’s that emotion and anger of ‘here we go again’.”

Mr Jones-King said his house is now “drying out” but added there were further issues of damp within his property.

“In my living room everything is in a pile, the dehumidifiers are on and it’s that continuous disinfecting because it’s sewer water that comes in the house.

The outside of a property with flood water
The outside of Paul Jones-King’s house (Paul Jones-King/PA)

“The houses smell damp and it’s things like slugs and woodlice that are all of sudden in the house – they’re attracted to the damp and the slugs come in from the nasty water from outside.”

Mr Jones-King said drainage from nearby farmland during heavy rainfall causes “rapid” draining into a local beck (Loftus Beck), which then becomes overwhelmed.

“The beck gets overwhelmed because it goes through a culvert under the road by the side of our houses – that culvert is not big enough to take the water,” he said.

“It pushes the water back into the sewer and it’s the sewer (water) that comes up through the drains and floods our houses.

“The drains in the main road lift and the water comes through the drains.”

Mr Jones-King said the flooding in the area “should be no surprise” to the local authorities and said it is the “same properties” which flood “time and time again”.

A flooded street in Loftus
Paul Jones-King said the area has flooded for the second time within a year (Paul Jones-King/PA)

“Funnily enough, the council have just delivered sandbags this morning (Thursday) which is really not helpful,” he said.

“It’s happened again and there’s lots of talking, lots of blame.

“The water board say it’s the council, the council say the water board need to do something as it’s coming from the sewers.

“The Environment Agency are not interested at all.”

He added: “The flood alert arrived 30 minutes after the water came into my house and that’s a brand new system that should have given me an early warning that there was going to be a problem.”

Flood water on the floor
Water on the floor of Paul Jones-King’s property (Paul Jones-King/PA)

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Our current understanding is that yesterday’s (May 22 2024) flood event related to surface water issues at St Hilda’s Place. However, previous flooding has been due to a combination of high flows from Loftus Beck as well as sewer and surface water flooding.

“In order to better understand the flood risk from all of these sources, the Environment Agency, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Northumbrian Water commissioned a hydraulic modelling study.

“This study is underway and will allow us to work in partnership to explore options for the long-term management of flood risk at St Hilda’s Place and the wider Loftus area.

“We also have a community engagement officer supporting residents of St Hilda Place to provide advice on flood resilience measures and develop a community flood plan.”

A spokesperson for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said: “The scale of the rainfall in East Cleveland yesterday caused flooding which led to a response from the emergency services, Redcar and Cleveland Council, the Environment Agency and other stakeholders.

“The council responded immediately when called out to the need for help and crews were mobilised throughout the day as the scale of the flooding became apparent.

“The crews worked with the emergency services to keep people safe. This work included making roads safe to use, clearing gulleys to allow the water to run away and providing help to residents to protect their homes.

“In relation to the flooding issues that occurred in the St Hilda’s Place area of Loftus, the council are currently working in partnership with the Environment Agency to deliver a property flood resilience scheme to try and help alleviate any further flooding issues in the area.

“The work to repair any damage caused will continue in the coming days and we would like to thank all those who gave their time and expertise to ensure people were safe in the aftermath of the flooding.”

A Northumbrian Water spokesperson said: “During spells of heavy rain, the beck in Loftus often floods and the combination of the surface and river water impacts on our networks.

“We share the community’s desire to improve the situation for the residents of St Hilda’s Place and that is why we are committed to assisting our partners at the Environment Agency and Redcar and Cleveland Council with their plans for the watercourse and culvert through the village.”