Going to my constituency office today, I get a call from the police telling me of a flood in Muswell Hill at the bottom of Ally Pally – so I head over on foot to see what’s up. (See the photos over on Flickr). All traffic had been stopped. Encountering a policeman I ask what is happening and he gets a car to take me up to the meeting place where Chris Donaldson from the Metropolitan Police is in charge and all of the agencies were coordinating their work. A 24 inch main had burst and a torrent of water was cascading down through Alexandra Palace Park into the backs of houses on Redston Road. The fire service were diverting and channelling the water away from residences as well as they could and sand-bagging up houses’ entrances to protect them.
The water board reckoned they would get the main turned off within a half hour – but as this was at a pumping station they had to turn off a series of mains across London before this one. The emergency services seemed extremely efficient and I then walked down through the park to see the worst affected houses.
It was terrible to see the gushing torrents coming out of peoples’ houses. The high odd numbers on Redston Road were worst hit. I went inside with Mrs Catherine Harper – one local resident – to see how bad it was. Her carpet was sodden and the patio out the back completely submerged. Other residents I met couldn’t speak highly enough of the fire service who had rushed into peoples’ houses and helped householders lift all their moveable possession upstairs or at least piled above where the water had come to.
In another house, where builders were working, they had erected barriers to protect three or four of the houses at the back by diverting the water around. Other local neighbours were coming out of their houses with broom and wellies.
My councillor Lib Dem colleagues Gail Engert, Martin Newton and Robert Gorrie were also all there to offer help. I left after about an hour and a half (with rather wet feet!), stopping at The Priory – which is sheltered accommodation for the elderly on Priory Road. I briefly met the warden and manager there who were all coping magnificently and trying to get hold of more sandbags – which were on their way. They were keeping everyone safely inside.
It was certainly quite a bad burst water main – and I guess that all of us who have been watching the dreadful floods throughout the country over recent days never dreamt that a part of Muswell Hill would experience flooding. It’s not on the scale of the rest of the country – but for those affected – it is dreadful.
Congratulations to all of the emergency services who really worked fantastically to help local people – well impressed!