Flood-hit community urged to stay indoors as Cumbrian river bursts its banks


Cumbrian Police have urged people to stay indoors after the river in Glenridding burst its banks again.

The already-devastated community faced continued rainfall overnight as fast-flowing water rushed through the village.

A "multi-agency" response, which includes the military and fire services, got under way last night amid concerns that the latest flooding may endanger lives.

In a statement early on Thursday morning Cumbria Police said that while the flood water was beginning to recede the situation remained "extremely dangerous".

It said: "Cumbria Police would like to urge the people of Glenridding to stay inside their properties to keep themselves and their families safe.

"Earlier the river water spilled over the banks into the village. The flood water is now starting to slowly recede in Glenridding."

Members of the public have been urged not to walk or travel through any flood water.

Police said Glenridding bridge will remain closed until daylight when engineers will assess it to see whether it is safe for public use.

Until then motorists have been asked to take alternative routes, some of which police warn may only be accessible in 4x4 vehicles.

Two feet of water on the B5322 near to St Johns and the Vale has caused it to be closed, while drivers are urged to exercise "extreme caution" on the A66 close to Greta Bridge due to large areas of surface water.

The Glenridding Hotel said it had flooded again.

The Met Office said 47mm of rain had fallen in a 12-hour period until 5am in Shap, around 22 miles from Glenridding.

Earlier, the military was drafted in to help people in Glenridding by delivering food and water.

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities, said the Government's pledge of £51 million for homes and businesses affected by recent floods shows it is "determined to stand squarely behind them".

During a visit to Appleby in Cumbria - one of the areas worst-hit by Storm Desmond over the weekend - Mr Clark said the announcement of a multimillion-pound package from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) would offer support in the months ahead.

The figure takes the total support from the Government to over £60 million.

Mr Clark, who met emergency services and council leaders in the area before visiting residents and businesses in Appleby, said the funding will help ensure families get back in their homes as quickly as possible and businesses return to trading.

He said: "As communities survey the damage caused by these floods and begin the difficult process of recovering, we're determined to stand squarely behind them and ensure the support needed is available."

He said he had witnessed first-hand the "hard work and dedication" of the community in striving to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

He said: "The £51 million Community and Business Recovery Scheme offers support in the weeks and months ahead. It ensures help is available to residents and businesses to get families back into their homes and businesses back trading again as quickly as possible."

Chancellor George Osborne said families will be able to claim up to £5,000 each to deal with the damage caused by Storm Desmond.

Funds will be distributed by local councils in an effort to overcome "administrative problems" that delayed payments in previous emergencies.

Cumbria County Council said the damage from the weekend's flooding was on a scale never seen before, with the situation changing hourly.

Much like Glenridding, Patterdale - which was isolated for three days due to flood water - saw the military drafted in to deliver food and water.

The beauty spot, which is popular with walkers, was cut off after the A592 lakeside road was submerged in water, bringing ancient trees crashing down and breaking up the surface of a road.

Pooley Bridge, one of the main access routes into the village, collapsed on Sunday and remains closed. Witnesses described the water "jetting through" dry stone walling as it carried rubble in its path.

Business owner Jon Holdsworth, of Patterdale Hall Estate half-a-mile away, described the floods as "biblical" as he watched his camping and caravan business disappear under water.

Figures from a rain gauge at Honister in the Lake District showed a UK record 341mm of rain had fallen in 24 hours over the weekend.

The average rainfall for Cumbria for the month of December is 146.1mm, the Met Office said.

A total of 131 bridges remain closed having been identified as being of strategic importance and requiring immediate inspection.