RELIEVED residents in Kempsey feel they have turned a corner after many homes and businesses were saved from flooding.
While neighbouring Worcester was swamped with water earlier this month as the River Severn rose to record levels in the city, the village’s flood defences held firm during the recent storms.
Brian Clark, chairman of Kempsey Flood Action Group (FLAG), which campaigned for more than two decades to get the £1.7million defences installed, said there had been a great sense of relief among villagers.
He also said the scheme’s success had gone some way to repairing people’s confidence after a number of properties were flooded when the pumps failed in November 2012 – just four months after they were unveiled.
“I think we have turned a corner,” he said. “It is not good to say, but the benefit from all this rain for us is that it has thoroughly tested our defences and they have been proven to work which is very gratifying.
“It also means that it has tested the systems that we have got as a flood action group and it shows that we are on the right lines.
“But we have to give our public thanks to the Environment Agency who have been absolutely wonderful and the workers on the ground who have manned the defences.”
Jennifer Grey, 80, who was among 15 residents on Church Street to be rescued by firefighters when water seeped into her home in 2012, said: “It is absolutely amazing that they have worked.
“We could have been underwater months ago if it hadn’t been for the defences, so it is just marvellous.”
Coun David Harrison, councillor for the area, said a few businesses, including Seaborne Caravan Park, and two homes on Lanes End were affected in Kempsey.
But he added: “It is strange that we have not got 50 properties underwater and the A38 closed. It was nearly a half a metre less than it was in 2007 whereas in Worcester it was higher.
“But we would have still have had two or three days with the A38 closed and all the properties in Church Street would have been underwater, so that’s what the defences have done.
“It is a relief and the residents are very grateful.”