Wigan Council facing £100,000 bill for Storm Christoph repairs

Flood damage caused by Storm Christoph in January could cost Wigan council close to £100,000, according to the latest estimates by the local authority.

The road and pathway flooded on Buckley Street, Wigan, after heavy rainfall after Storm Christoph hit the borough.
The road and pathway flooded on Buckley Street, Wigan, after heavy rainfall after Storm Christoph hit the borough.

Four properties, which are all council-owned, were flooded during the storm which hit between January 19 and 21, causing a ‘major incident’ in the region.

There were 15 road closures due to high volumes of water overwhelming the drainage systems. Some roads which were ‘battered’ still require repairs.

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In total, 40 council workers attended more than 152 storm-related incidents.

Some staff worked 20 hour shifts, starting at 7.30am and finishing as late as 3am and 4am the following day – albeit with breaks.

Director for environment Paul Barton told the housing advisory panel on Tuesday (March 16) that staff were ‘absolutely brilliant’ in their response.

But he revealed that the time spent by staff responding, added to the repairs required due to the damage, could cost the council ‘the thick end of’ £100,000.

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He said: “This is an example of mother nature – climate change – and the damage it can actually do to the borough.

“We got away lightly. There were other Greater Manchester authorities which really got hundreds of properties flooded. So we were lucky.

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“We did have a couple of near misses at some points. Borsdane Brook in Hindley and the River Douglas going through Wigan were very high and we had to keep a very close eye on them. But we got away with those too.”

Four properties on the Higher Folds estate in Leigh were flooded internally.

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Tenants in two houses on Crown Grove stayed at home during the flood, but were supplied with dehumidifiers for two weeks to help dry the property.

One household in Sterling Close was temporarily relocated to emergency hotel accommodation while a neighbouring resident moved in with a relative.

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Repair works are still ongoing at both of these council-owned properties.

United Utilities now need to upgrade a culvert in Warrington Road, Abram as well as repairing a combined sewer in Warrington Road, Leigh.

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Repairs are also required to a culvert in Chorley Road, Standish and in Walkden Avenue, Wigan where there is a dispute over the ownership of another culvert.

Leigh East councillor Fred Walker thanked everyone involved in responding.

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He said: “Terrible disruption for the tenants, but at least we handled it well and we really got cracking.

“So thank you on behalf of local people for what you did there.”