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Maidenhead flooding: Gardens become lakes amid worries homes will be uninsurable

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Maidenhead flooding: Gardens become lakes amid worries homes will be uninsurable

One Maidenhead resident had to resort to using a paddleboard to get around his garden, while others fear their homes will become uninsurable as flooding continues in the area.

There are four flood warnings in place in Maidenhead, which could increase – and this has led to residents feeling uncertain about what to expect.

Vanisha Kneafsey, a 44-year-old osteopath who is based in North Town, Maidenhead, said the most “worrying” thing for her is that her home may become uninsurable.

Water levels in the area are expected to get worse by Monday, but she is trying to be “optimistic”.

“We’re kind of sitting ducks in a way,” she said.

“We haven’t got sandbags, but tomorrow will be the big clincher in terms of stress.

“Our concern is what the future may hold.”

The couple’s garden is filled with water, so when sound engineer Michael Kneafsey, 42, went to retrieve wood drying out at the bottom of the garden, he had to inflate a paddleboard to get it.

Officials in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have said that measures will be enforced to help business and households affected by rising water levels, with flooded households in eligible affected areas able to apply for up to £500 cash to help with immediate costs.

Mrs Kneafsey said if water “starts creeping up” into her home, she will look into applying.

She said: “You still think – what am I going to do if flooding gets more and more frequent and starts to get under the house and starts to wreck the foundations?”

She added she fears proposed developments to build more homes in the area could lead to further flooding to her house in future years.

The Kneafseys’ neighbour – Jean Sutherland, who is a journalist – told PA: “It was jaw-dropping – I woke up this morning and there was a lake (in the garden next to me).”

The 58-year-old added: “We unfortunately don’t have any flood defences here and we are right on the border with Cookham.

“We’re expected to reach record levels at 7pm today and we’re still watching it rise.

“We’ve never had flooding and the speed this groundwater is coming up at is phenomenal – it’s frightening, it’s really scary because I’ve never seen groundwater rise like that.”

When asked about potential Government measures which she may be able to apply for, she said: “The problem is the future.

“This wasn’t happening to our garden five/six years ago, so if we just keep ignoring the problem and not sorting out the flood defences it doesn’t matter if you give me £400 – I won’t need it because all I’ve got is a very, very deep puddle in my garden.

“I’ll probably be paying £500-£800 more a year on my insurance – at what point does my house then become uninsurable?

“There needs to be a really strong conversation nationally about future flooding, future defences and, yes, you can’t completely mitigate flooding, but you can stop building really inappropriate developments on flood plains, which is happening all the time now.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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