MP vows to try and help Bishops Tawton flood victims

North Devon MP Nick Harvey meets with Bishops Tawton residents at DI Elliott butchers. Pictured are Philip and Betty Partridge, Parish Council chairman Peter Leaver, Chris Morrison, and Katie Wells, Grace and Dudley Elliot. North Devon MP Nick Harvey meets with Bishops Tawton residents at DI Elliott butchers. Pictured are Philip and Betty Partridge, Parish Council chairman Peter Leaver, Chris Morrison, and Katie Wells, Grace and Dudley Elliot.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
4:29 PM

Nick Harvey meets residents and business owners to hear their concerns that not enough is being done to prevent flooding devastating the village yet again.

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NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has promised to ‘try and bang heads together’ to prevent further flooding after meeting with Bishops Tawton residents.

Mr Harvey visited DI Elliott butchers on Friday to hear from the family and other villagers of the devastation caused and their frustration that not enough is being done to prevent it from happening again.

“Residents in certain pinch points at Bishop’s Tawton have lived with the fear – and semi-regular reality – of flooding for too many years,” he said.

“The Environment Agency, Devon County Council as the highways authority, and South West Water as the sewerage authority, all have a part to play.”

The shop reopened in January after being closed for more than a year following the terrible flooding of December 2012. Grace Elliott, her son Dudley and daughter Katie Wells have worked tirelessly on a complete refit.

Their story is not unique – Chris Morrison has lived at a cottage in Easter Street since 1979 and he believes the flooding situation has changed little since then: “Whatever they do they are not going to stop it completely, but we would like some assurance something is going to be done to help the situation,” he said.

Betty Partridge is 85 and has lived in the village most of her life. She officially opened the butchers shop back in January and doesn’t want to see it flood again: “We’re just concerned the shop might have to close again if it floods over the next couple of years before any measures can be put in place,” she said.

Parish Council chairman Peter Leaver said Mr Harvey’s visit had been useful to highlight concerns over insurance, as there were people in the village effectively unable to get any.

“It was helpful to be able to explain where the village is in terms of working with the Environment Agency to develop flood protection measures, but there’s a long way to go in terms of finding funding for them,” he said.

Katie Wells said they were grateful to Mr Harvey for his visit and hoped he would be able to push for some answers: “We’re not going to go away and we will keep Bishops Tawton on the map so we can get something done to help alleviate flooding in future years,” she said.

Mr Harvey added: “The key thing is to come up with a workable scheme to mitigate the risk to an acceptable level. A part of this could, for example, be allowing certain lands to flood in order to prevent worse consequences elsewhere.

“I will try and bang heads together and get all concerned to come up with a solution.”

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