RESIDENTS have told how they battled in vain to unblock drains and dig a trench across the village green to stop flood water from swamping their Wigan homes.
Despite the valiant efforts, two historic houses in Pennington Green Lane, Aspull, found themselves flooded for the second time in less than three months at the weekend.
Peter Fisher, 57, could only look on in dismay as his lounge found itself under 2ft of water. The only saving grace was that his carpet and some of his furniture had already been damaged by a previous flash flood in October and repairs for that disaster had yet to taken place.
But the waters were higher this time and so his kitchen succumbed too.
Mr Fisher, who has been resident in the home (which was built in 1653) since the early 1980s, knows exactly what the problems are that have made the houses increasingly vulnerable over the years.
He said: “It’s the drains and gulleys which aren’t being cleaned out regularly enough. We have complained about this umpteen times over the years but to no avail.
“There used to be four poplar trees opposite my house and many of their leaves would end up blocking the drains. They got chopped down only a few weeks ago but no one had yet got round to getting all of this year’s leaves out. Another drain up the road is full of rubble.
“As the rain came down could see the water quickly rising; the street had turned into a river; there were waves when motorists drove along the main road and sent another surge down the hill.
“And so we got the grids up and were manually pulling the stuff out of the drains that was blocking them. We also tried digging a trench across the green to let some of the water to run off into a brook on the other side.”
Neighbour Barry Close was luckier, having built his home in a slightly more raised position as a precaution.
He said: “It was touch and go whether we would get hit too, but this is the fifth time I can remember there being a flood here although a long-standing neighbour of ours says it’s the worst in 48 years. The problem is that with other houses being built and other changes to the landscape the water doesn’t naturally run away from our homes.”
Two of Wigan’s most frequently flooded streets got off lightly this time thanks to previous remedial work.
Beresford Street and Gorman Street in Springfield have had more than their share of deluge troubles over the years.
Resident Marie Brookfield said: “We saw the water rising and thought ‘here we go again,’ but it just stopped short because a council wagon came and helped clear the drains.
“It has also helped that since the last flood that came into our homes there was a major operation to unblock all the drains.”