Residents living upstairs in ruined homes after Christmas floods

Homeowners are continuing to count costs after flooding across south Wales on Christmas Eve.

Businesses, homes and roads in Newport, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan were hit by widespread flooding following torrential rain on December 23 and the early hours of December 24.

The floods left many home and business owners scrambling to rescue property and belongings on Christmas Eve, all while the coronavirus pandemic continued to dominate headlines.

Homes on Orchard Street and Margaret Avenue, in the St Julian’s area of Newport, were particularly badly hit.

At its worst point, the water level came to around knee height in the street, with significant amounts of water coming into people’s homes.

Cheryl Cocks said she has never seen such severe flooding in 21 years living in the area
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Cheryl Cocks, 50, said she was alerted to the flooding late on December 23 by a neighbour, and came downstairs to find water coming into her home on Margaret Avenue.

“I have been here 21 years and I have never seen it like that before,” she said.

“The drains started spurting up here. Usually it just comes in the garden but this time it was through everything.

“Everything downstairs has been ruined; our new flooring, skirting boards, three lots of settees, tables, chairs and curtains – everything.

“I have been living upstairs with the dehumidifiers and fans going downstairs.

“I have got four dogs and two cats so I can’t move out of here.”

This is what Orchard Street looked like on the night of the flooding
(Image: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency)

Cheryl said some of her neighbours on the street are staying with friends and relatives in the aftermath of the flooding.

But many others have been forced to stay despite significant flood damage.

“At the beginning I was devastated because we haven’t long finished renovating the whole of the downstairs,” she said.

“Now I want to get the house done and then I’m moving. All the years I have lived here I have never seen it like that.

“It was a horrible experience.”

Adam Wendzel moved into the street six years ago
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Adam Wendzel’s bugalow was completely flooded, leaving not one room in the house undamaged
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Adam Wendzel moved into his bungalow in Orchard Street six years ago and said he has done a significant amount of work on the property since purchase.

But without a second floor, the 44-year-old said every room of his home has sustained damage.

“It’s everything,” he said.

“All the flooring, completely, in every single room from the porch to the conservatory at the back.

“I would be disappointed to find out that it was somebody’s fault. If nobody could do anything about it then it would make me feel better, but we could find out it’s because someone didn’t do a job.”

Adam said he has seen flooding on the street previously, but was shocked by the water level on December 23.

“There were near misses about three or four times while I have been living here,” he said.

“That last time, as soon as those pumps started up it was like pulling the plug out and the water disappeared in a few minutes.”

Residents have had to dispose of furniture and fixtures
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
Sarah Ridings has been living and working in just the upstairs of her home
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Sarah Ridings, 49, said she and her husband spent Christmas living and working upstairs in their home on Orchard Street.

Her son, who was on leave from the Royal Navy, spent his Christmas break helping clear up the property.

“We have all been affected,” Sarah said.

“Emotionally as much as physically because you can replace things but unfortunately the insurance companies are absolutely overwhelmed.

“Most people would have been able to deal with it if it wasn’t December 23, right next to Christmas.”

A spokesman for Newport City Council said the cause of the flooding is currently being investigated by the appropriate agencies, and said it would be inappropriate to comment further while investigations are ongoing.

A spokesperson for Natural Resources Wales said: “We believe the flooding was caused by surface water, so we are not looking into this particular flooding incident.”

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