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Anger in flood-hit Calder Valley after third flood in seven years destroys lives


Feb. 12, 2020

Storm Ciara wasn't the first storm to put the town of Hebden Bridge underwater.
In the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire they know all about floods.
But somehow, despite every flood defence plan, every government initiative - they keep happening.
On Wednesday, just days after a deluge drenched the picturesque town, the environment secretary was in town for a meeting.
It was a meeting to which the public weren't invited
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"We need to make sure those defences are delivered.
"We're investing £74million in protecting people from flooding in the Calder Valley, we need to make sure the projects are delivered - and I'm pressing the Environment Agency," she said as she climbed into a car during a hale storm.
Responding to criticism of schemes not being completed quickly enough, she said: "The Mytholmroyd scheme is on the way. We need to make sure i's delivered next year, on time."
But the Mytholmroyd scheme she mentioned was originally meant to be finished already.
On Wednesday, workers were hastily putting blocks at the end of the unfinished wall in preparation for Storm Dennis which arrives this weekend. But it's too little, too late for some.
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Upstream, Stuart and his friend Yvonne were continuing the seemingly endless task of clearing up.
The minister had said she wanted to talk to residents - she didn't come to see the people on this street.
"They're heartbroken!" exclaimed Yvonne angrily.
"I mean this is the third flood in seven years - how do you think she would cope if she had to go through flooding every two or three years and see her beautiful home destroyed. How do you think she would feel?
"This is breaking people's hearts, you know.
"She doesn't care," she added.
Hundreds of homes and businesses have been affected by Sunday's flooding - for many the damage has been costly. Many local people want their say on how to prevent it happening again.
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Three residents who wanted to meet the minister during her visit say they were turned away.
Jenny Shepherd told ITV News: "I'm not surprised. I think it's part of the course with the lack of respect our elected representatives show to the public who don't agree with them."
People here hope this won't happen again.
But for the moment hope is all they have.
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