Birdham flood victims struggle to rebuild lives after the deluge

Residents in Birdham are trying to recover in the aftermath of the extreme floods which hit last week.

Michael and Angela Parks live on Sidlesham Lane in Birdham and have been badly affected by last Monday’s floods.

The couple are forced to move out of their home for around the next six weeks while work is being carried out to try and restore their home.

Michael Parks said: “I feel it is a problem that needn’t have happened, we really don’t know what we are going to do.”

Their home was flooded with three inches of flood water and now requires brand new carpets, skirting boards and the work is likely to take around six weeks to complete.

Despite the recent events, the couple are trying their best to stay positive and are looking to the future. Angela said: “I am looking on the positive side of it, there’s not anything that could not be replaced, it is going to take a long time to get back to normal, at the end of the day it is a tragedy but no one has been seriously hurt.”

Michael added: “We are lucky compared to those people in Bell Lane that had to deal with the floods.”

Birdham resident Stephen Crossley witnessed the devastating effects of the flooding chaos that took place last week.

Stephen went around the village and assisted neighbours wherever he could, with Crook Lane flooded at both ends residents were trying to divert water away from their homes in the chaos.

He helped a neighbour clear furniture from their ground floor up to their first floor, in an attempt to try and salvage possessions during the floods.

Stephen said: “I was upset for other people and was doing a neighbourly thing to try and help, what did hit home was seeing grown men with their head in their hands close to tears and housewives crying their eyes out, I am very concerned about what has gone on.”

Stephen is pioneering for greater awareness in the process of evaluating the most suitable areas of land to develop.

After witnessing the distressing effects of the floods, Stephen is calling for an increase in data collected from surveys to try and assist people when it comes to extreme events, like last weeks flooding. Stephen believes that if data collected from topographical surveys (which pinpoint high and low points of land, drainage points and root spans of trees) carried out when developers want to build on land is transferred to the Environment Agency and made available to cross reference to others, it will achieve a greater understanding of the levels of land on that development.

Stephen maintains that it would enable extreme events like the flooding to be dealt with less devastating effects to homes.

The initiative will enable developers to question whether the land is safer, and re-landscape the land to build pools which collect water safely to try and prevent future flooding as extreme as what was seen last week.

Stephen believes that the current process is outdated and is calling for a greater increase in data and evidence to ensure extreme events don’t continue to ruin peoples homes. Stephen added: “I just think a greater awareness or maybe some other ideas need to be put forward.

At the moment if it is a risk between people getting flooded in their own homes or to build at all or somewhere different that is the message that needs to be addressed.”

The picture slideshow shows some of the photographs taken of flooding in the Chichester and Bognor Regis area last week.