STAND-OFFS between Barnsley Council and Yorkshire Water - who have been at ‘loggerheads’ over the responsibility of flooding-related issues - are putting residents in the firing line, fed-up locals have claimed.
Burton Road in Monk Bretton and Pontefract Road in Oakwell - two major commuter belts into the town centre - have faced disruption due to ruptured pipes, but residents in Cudworth and Darton have encountered further problems in recent weeks.
Spells of freezing temperatures - followed by milder periods - have damaged underground water supplies including pipes, gullies and culverts, according to Yorkshire Water, but impacted residents say issues remain over who is responsible for clean-ups or repair work.
Joyce Smith, 47, of Crown Avenue, Cudworth, called Yorkshire Water to her home address last Wednesday for an emergency call-out when her street started to flood.
She told the Chronicle: “Yorkshire Water haven’t been much help, really.
“They just don’t seem bothered.
“Our street floods every time it rains to the point where water actually gets into our house and floods the cars on our drive.
“I’m beyond frustrated now, because it happens all the time, and it’s not just a bit, it’s a lot of water.
“I don’t know how many times it will take for them to actually listen to us, this isn’t the first time this has been reported.
“Yorkshire Water keep coming out to ‘clean’ the drains but we don’t think that’s the problem as each time it happens, it seems to get worse and worse.”
Flood prevention on Lang Avenue, culvert replacements on Birthwaite Hill in Darton and Bulling Dyke at Low Valley, and riverbank strengthening on Netherwood Road in Wombwell, were given priority status following a multi-million pound investment in protecting Barnsley.
Embankment repairs at Worsbrough and Elsecar reservoirs, the creation of a flood plain at Smithies, sewer work at Great Houghton, and river dredging on the Dearne on Church Street, Darton, will follow, before a Barnsley-wide culvert condition probe begins in 2024.
However, 51-year-old Simon Senior, whose property on Oaks Farm Drive in Darton is uninhabitable due to persistent flooding, told the Chronicle that he and wife Julie are at their wits’ end with the council and Yorkshire Water.
He added: “They just constantly pass the blame onto each other and you’re left in the middle, with nobody to turn to but your insurance company.
“We’ve had to move out of our house due to floods - we’re told a culvert is blocked nearby, and that sewage is being forced into our home.
“We moved out last week and although the insurance company has been great by paying for rent and the repair works, including pumping out the water and replacing damaged floorboards, Yorkshire Water and Barnsley Council both say it’s the other’s fault.”
A spokesperson from Yorkshire Water admitted more call-outs had been received due to fluctuating temperature, but confirmed the firm works alongside the council in dealing with problems.
“Following freezing temperatures over the last few weeks, we now have a sudden change to much milder weather.
“When temperatures fluctuate, as they have over the last few days, it causes the ground to move which can impact and damage our water pipes.
“We have seen more leaks and bursts as a result and have increased the number of colleagues we have out and about, so that we can fix any issues as quickly as possible.
“Any water on the property is a private issue - usually dealt with through the homeowner insurance.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership approach to flood alleviation - it goes way beyond benefits for one area or organisation, it’s about delivering wider benefits for all of our customers in South Yorkshire.”