LAST Thursday I witnessed – as I’m sure many Penarth Times readers did - the exceptionally heavy rainfall that hit the area during the afternoon, and the flash-flooding that occurred as a result.
Sadly, for some of the town’s residents I spoke with and whose homes I saw in the immediate aftermath, the consequences of that torrential rainfall will be felt for weeks and in some cases months to come, with the cost of repairs potentially running into many thousands of pounds.
I saw not just flooding of pavements and streets outside homes, but large-scale damage to ground floor and basement rooms, loss of power due to damage to wiring, and in one case, what looked to be serious structural damage as a result of the swift and excessive ingress of water.
These particular problems were in homes in the Cogan area, but I know that many other people were affected across the town, with problems reported on the seafront, Lavernock Road, Elfed Avenue, in and around Cornerswell Road, and Corbett Road in Llandough (and I’m sure there were more).
In the homes I visited, tribute must be paid to the residents who were all doing their best to limit the damage and help their neighbours, assisted by the Fire Service and Red Cross who were on the scene. Their combined efforts may have helped prevent even more serious damage, and this was a scene replicated across the area.
Vale Council teams were out as well, although with so many affected sites in such a short space of time, resources were inevitably stretched.
I was in immediate contact with officers at the council, who assured me they were doing everything they could to deal with the immediate problems, clear debris and get things moving again. They also told me that longer-term, they would be looking into any problems with drainage and other highways issues which may have contributed to the situation.
It seems, from speaking to residents, that many of them had existing concerns about drainage and feared an event like this. So while the rainfall on this occasion was without a doubt extreme and extraordinary, it nevertheless points to a problem to which we need to find a long-term solution.
I have therefore asked the authority for assurances that full assessments of the drainage in the worst-affected areas will be carried out, and for details of plans to try and prevent such similar occurrences in future. I am certain there are lessons to be learned here.