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Horncastle residents left homeless after ‘horrendous’ Storm Babet flooding

Residents of Horncastle are reeling with the aftermath of Storm Babet after dozens of families lost belongings and some have been left homeless. On Friday, October 20, Lincolnshire was pelted with what was reportedly two months’ worth of rain, and Horncastle was amongst the areas most severely impacted.

In response to the floods of 2007, which affected more than 200 properties, the town benefited from an £8.1 million Flood Alleviation Scheme in 2017. However, several residents have deemed the flood defences ineffective as the market town and surrounding villages suffered extensive damage over the weekend.

A number of locals sought advice from various agencies at the Horncastle & District Community Centre on Manor House Street. Amanda Eastwood, 53, noticed the rising water levels on Friday morning before leaving for work. However, by the afternoon, she received an alarming call from a friend.

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She said: “My friend phoned me at around 1.30pm because she had been near my street and said that I had better get down to the house or we would have to get my daughter out in a boat.”

After returning home, Ms Eastwood discovered about two inches of water inundating the ground floor of her home and quickly evacuated her daughter, dog, and grabbed some emergency supplies.

“We tried to go back later on at about 5.30pm, but by that point, we couldn’t access the property as the water was over the top of our wellies. It was quite horrendous, luckily I’ve been able to crash with a friend for a couple of nights but technically my tenancy ended as we evacuated on Friday. I have no home now.”



Amanda Eastwood
Amanda Eastwood

India Gillender, 27, and her partner, Reece, are also scrambling to find alternative living arrangements after their home on Water Lane faced a similar fate. “I got back from grocery shopping on Friday afternoon and the water was getting high and running quite fast until the driveway started flooding. Within half an hour, I was stood up to my waist in water,” said India.

Having narrowly escaped their flooding home with their pet dog, the couple are now staying at Reece’s parents’ home, grappling with the loss of their belongings. India continued: “All I’ve got is what I’m wearing, my dog and my partner. We’re staying with my partner’s parents house at the moment with whatever we have got left, they’re very good to us. We’re lucky to have a family like that but I know a lot of people don’t.”

At about 12pm on Friday, Michelle, 64, collected her grandson from school early, anticipating the flooding. The situation worsened by 6pm, when water inundated her property “like a wave,” through the back gate.

Over time, the water level rose to roughly eight inches. She said: “We just watched it rise until it came through the back of the kitchen. Thankfully, that wasn’t until later on when the water had started to recede, so we didn’t get too much damage to our property.”

Michelle also noted a distinct odour emanating from the water trapped beneath her sunroom, suspecting it to be sewerage. She later expressed frustration about the situation on Prospect Street, which, in her opinion, should have been closed. Cars continued to navigate the rain-soaked roads, inadvertently splashing water onto driveways.



An aerial view of the flooding around Horncastle
An aerial view of the flooding around Horncastle

“While I’m upset and angry, we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and that people are safe,” she added. Isabel Forrester, 50, is another resident dealing with a flooded basement.

She said: “We know that it floods, it’s not the first time and everything is in plastic boxes or on pallets. The problem was that everything rose so quickly, it went from being a couple of inches to being a foot deep in a very short period of time.

“We were fairly prepared but by midnight we were having to haul things out because the water had gotten so high that the boxes were started to flood. They were starting to floor and capsize. We perhaps didn’t react as quickly as we should have done in retrospect because none of knew we were due to have that much rain. However, there are people in far worse situations than us.

“I think the next step is to get a skip and start getting rid of things.”

Despite her own troubles, as a trustee of the Horncastle Crisis Support Team, she’s been instrumental in aiding other flood-affected families and helped organise the drop-in session at the community centre. By around 11am today, she reported that 40-50 households from the area had sought their assistance.

She continued: “We have had an incredible response. We always have a drop-in service for advice on a Monday morning, but we recognised that people were going to need more specific tailored advice today.

“Therefore, over the weekend, we got various agencies involved, managed to contact district and town councillors and asked them if they would be willing to come along. Before we even got ourselves sorted out there were people coming over wanting help. We think we’ve had about 40/50 households through and they are talking to all sorts of people.”

Isabel and her team have planned to host a follow-up session between 5pm and 7pm on Wednesday this week to extend their support to more affected residents. East Lindsey district councillors Richard Avison and William Gray (both Conservative) were among the officials providing guidance at today’s drop-in session.

Amid concerns from some residents about the possibility of more rain, both councillors have helped reassurances that, while there may be more rain, it isn’t expected to be as severe as over the weekend.

“We’re very sorry for those that have been affected. The District Council and the County Council are here to help as much as we can,” said Councillor Gray.

The councillors have urged affected residents to reach out to communitysupport@e-lindsey.gov.uk for any assistance they might require.

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