Whaley Bridge: Fifty households deemed safe to return to

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Families are being told they can return to their homes in Whaley Bridge, after thousands were forced to evacuate last Thursday over fears a damaged dam wall could burst.

Around 50 households in the Horwich End area of the Derbyshire town have now been deemed safe, meaning their occupants can return.

The move comes as the water level at Toddsbrook Reservoir, of which the dam wall is part of, dropped by 9.1 metres.

The remaining residents have been told they have to wait until after noon today before a decision can be made on whether they could go back.

Derbyshire Police previously said those evacuated from the town must wait until experts decide that Toddbrook Reservoir's damaged dam - built in 1831 - is "absolutely safe".

'Thank you' notes were left for workers fighting the flooding risk

Deputy chief constable, Rachel Swann, said: "We have obviously been pumping the water out and it has gone down at a fast speed. It is now beyond 9.5 metres. We will keep draining the water until it is safe to stop.

"What we need to do is just to check the reservoir is fit for when it rains again and we have got a yellow weather warning."

On Friday, police said the damaged dam posed "a significant threat to life", and warned of a severe risk of the wall bursting and flooding the area with around 1.3 million tonnes of water.

It came after heavy downpours across the region, which caused flash flooding.

Despite the warnings, some residents refused to leave.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted a picture of 'thank you' signs left outside by some Whaley Bridge locals.

"A thoughtful gesture to thank all agencies working to protect the homes, businesses and community of Whaley Bridge," they wrote.

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