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Newburn floods bill still rising for Newcastle Council - GALLERY

A FLOOD-HIT Newcastle estate has cost the Duke of Northumberland more than £2m.

A FLOOD-HIT Newcastle estate has cost the Duke of Northumberland more than £2m.

With engineers believed to be preparing to demolish the Newburn Spencer Court flats hit by September’s floods, the duke’s Northumberland Estates is preparing for a bill which is set to rise further.

Newcastle Council alone has paid out some £850,000, which includes repair work from the summer floods plus around £500,000 on the cost of repairing Newburn’s High Street.

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Engineering work, water pumps and help relocating families cost the duke’s estate around £1.85m last week, with added costs over the weekend bringing the total up. As yet the issue of liability is still unresolved, with Newcastle Council continuing to stepping in to aid residents as families wait to see if the duke and his insurer will pay out.

Wider flood funding costs remain an issue for the council, with the Government so far ignoring pleas to cover the cost of long-term road repairs.

In July, the Government wrote to councils saying 100% of flood costs would be paid out under the Bellwin scheme.

However, Newcastle Council says those payments only cover immediate cleaning costs and not the long-term repairs to more than £8m worth of Tyneside roads and pavements. Last night Henri Murison, the councillor leading Newcastle’s flood recovery work, said changes were needed to the way local authorities are reimbursed for flood repair work.

He added: “The city council is facing substantial costs to repair the damage caused by recent flooding events.

“Thursday left us with an estimated £8m bill for repairs to roads and pavements, and last week’s rain added at least £100,000 to the bill for assistance we gave across the city. Northumberland Estates has underwritten the costs of repairing the culvert at High Street, Newburn, but the council is incurring additional costs as it plays a supportive co-ordinating role in relation to Spencer Court which is a significant structural engineering incident.”

The demolition of Spencer Court comes after a month’s worth of rain fell in just 36 hours during the worst September floods in 30 years.

It left the Newburn flats perched precariously with their foundations exposed and in danger of toppling. The council says a further 51 homes were affected by another evacuation last weekend when a rest centre was set-up at Newburn Activity Centre, with affected residents told they may not be able to return home for two weeks.

Page 2 - Morpeth flood recovery group looks to help >>

Morpeth flood recovery group looks to help

A FLOOD recovery group has been set up by Northumberland County Council after dozens of homes were flooded in Morpeth.

The group, which includes Northumbria Police, the Environment Agency, Morpeth Flood Action Group, the town council, British Red Cross and Morpeth Lions Club, held its first meeting on Monday to ensure the effects of last week’s flooding can be quantified and dealt with.

Sue Milner, the county’s director of public health and protection, said the group would coordinate the provision of practical assistance and support.

Communal skips have been provided in which residents can dump water- damaged goods. They have been placed in the High Stanners and Mitford Road areas for use by residents to dispose of household goods and furniture.

Yesterday the council stressed that householders must check that they have the go-ahead from their insurance company before they dispose of items.

Electrical items cannot be placed in the skips but will be collected free of charge from flood-affected properties by the council’s bulky waste service.

Anyone who wants to request help in disposing of goods, book a bulky waste collection for electrical items or report that skips are full, should call the council’s customer services team on 0845 600 6400. The team can also help with queries about council tax payments for flood-affected properties.



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