Silsden Floods 2008


Quick-thinking builders save Silsden homes from flooding

3:24pm Thursday 24th January 2008

By Andrea Hardaker

A heroic family business saved many Silsden residents from flooding when Bradford Council was unable to help.

Builders from Silsden construction company PA Snell and Sons Ltd ran to get wooden boards from their work site as a worried woman watched water rise to her doorstep.

Silsden town councillor Anne Brown had already contacted Bradford Council and the Environment Agency, who could not supply any sandbags when water began to rise from the village duck pond and across to nearby houses.

Coun Brown said: “One woman was very worried that her home was about to be flooded.

“I was having no luck with the council and I went to a nearby policeman who didn’t have anything either, so as a last resort I tried the builders who are developing a site on St John’s Close.

“They didn’t have any sandbags but they came and put a wooden board in front of the water, which forced it back in to the pond and away from the houses. They did a very good job.”

The mayor of Silsden Town Council, Liz Trainor, said the Silsden-based family company did an excellent job and saved many homes from being flooded when they could not get alternative help.

She said: “We could not get any sandbags from anybody, we just kept getting passed from pillar to post between Bradford Council and the Environment Agency, nobody wanted anything to do with it.

“A big thanks has to go to the company workers – they saved a lot of houses, there was a lot of houses that would have been flooded if it wasn’t for them.”

Councillor Trainor also praised the efforts of the police and the Environment Agency, who she said were quick on the scene to aid and assess Silsden’s flood crisis.

In defence of its struggle to equip the town with sandbags, Mike Powell, emergency planning manager for Bradford Council, said the department had received a huge number of calls about flooding this week.

He said: “We do have some sandbags available but we must prioritise them for vulnerable people and to maintain access for the emergency services, to protect vital facilities within the community and to protect the main transport routes.”

The flooding, which was concentrated on Keighley Road, has re-ignited residents’ anger that planning permission for 120 new homes to be built near this flood plain area is likely to be given.

Bradford Council contacted the Environment Agency twice to get confirmation that housing developer Taylor-Wimpey was still safe to build on the site in the light of a summer of heavy rain, which the agency agreed it was.

Planning chairman Councillor Chris Greaves declined to comment about the site because some technical detail about the agreement with Taylor-Wimpey is yet to be resolved.

However Councillor Trainor said she was not concerned about an increased flooding risk to the area if the new homes are built.

She said: “At the moment I am not concerned. The council has given the go-ahead for the building and although the rain has been excessive in Silsden, it has been excessive everywhere else too.

“But I haven’t yet spoken to anybody who can tell me a new reason to be concerned, there might be one.”

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