Family claim £900K home now 'worthless' after flooding with raw sewage
Family claim their £900K dream home is now ‘worthless’ after being flooded with raw sewage TWICE in the last three years due to ‘bad drainage’ – as council launch probe
- Helen Northway lives with her husband, two young children and grandmother
- She said everyone got ‘very sick’ after raw sewage flooded their dream home
A family claim their £900,000 dream home is now ‘worthless’ after being flooded with raw sewage – twice in the last three years.
Helen and Ashley Northway were horrified when their 17th century stone farmhouse in Raunds, Northamptonshire, started overflowing with foul water after heavy rain battered the UK last week.
The couple, their 10-month-old daughter Elevyn, disabled son Archie, 10, and Helen’s 89-year-old grandmother June all required medical assistance from an emergency doctor after being exposed to raw sewage.
Mrs Northway said: ‘We are all very sick now. All five members of my household had to be assessed by an emergency doctor and prescribed antibiotics for chest infections, following exposure to the raw sewage, and thereafter chemicals to treat it.
‘My husband has been coughing up blood. With vulnerable people including my elderly grandmother and young baby being affected with chest infections, I am not willing to allow this to drag on as there is serious risk to health, let alone the property damage.’
Helen Northway (pictured) says the family’s £900,000 dream home is now ‘worthless’ because of damage caused by flooding
Raw sewage and water swept into their home last week as a result of downpours that battered Britain
They claim that bad drainage and a faulty sewage pipe resulted in the foul waste sweeping into their six-bedroom home, also leaving the family with a huge clean-up bill.
The issue has seen the local council launch investigations into the cause of flooding of the property, which they say are ‘ongoing’.
The six-bedroom property was overwhelmed despite £230,000 being spent on flood defences and drain upgrades in the the Northamptonshire village in 2021.
The couple’s home sits in a natural dip in the centre the village which has been hit with flooding in recent years.
The issues started on Christmas Eve 2020, when the family were forced to desperately try to save presents and valuables after the entire ground floor of their home was submerged under 3ft of water.
Helen Northway with their grandmother June Norman. Mrs Northway said everyone got ‘very sick’ after raw sewage flooded their home last week
The village of Raunds, Northamptonshire, experienced flooding due to heavy rain last week
Damage caused by the flooding at the Northway’s £900,000 dream home in Raunds, Northamptonshire
Emergency services were called out after heavy rain caused flooding in the village of Raunds, Northamptonshire
The couple complained to Northamptonshire Highways and engineers repaired misconnected sewage pipes and built two soakaways to absorb surface water at a cost of £230,000.
But just over two years later, the family’s property was once again submerged after last week’s downpours, causing illness among the Northways.
Mrs Northway and her husband Ashley, 43, a veteran army bomb disposal expert with the Royal Engineers, bought the house in 2017.
They spent £200,000 converting the 380-year-old building into a family home including a fully equipped annexe for Helen’s grandmother.
The couple, who were childhood sweethearts, hoped the property would prove to be an investment for their children when they got older.
The village was submerged in water after heavy downpours last week
Water filled the bathroom of the Northway’s £900,000 home
However, they claim it is now ‘worthless’ and are unable to sell it or insure it against future flooding.
Mrs Northway said: ‘Before we bought the house, there had been two floods in 100 years but since we moved in, there have been two in three years.
‘Every time it rains, we know we are at serious risk of being flooded out. It means we cannot leave the house.
‘We have had to cancel holidays, attending funerals, even our honeymoon was cut short so we could come back and pump out water.
‘Whenever we go out we are glued to the weather forecast in case it rains.
A firefighter providing assistance in the village of Raunds, Northamptonshire, which was flooded last week
June and Helen, who live together, got ‘very sick’ after their home was flooded with raw sewage
‘We have spent a lot of money converting the house and what we have now is a nigh on £1 million house which we were hoping to leave to our children but is now a massive life-long problem.’
Mrs Northway also blames a sprawling 400-home development which has been built at the end of her road for increasing the pressure on the drains.
READ MORE: What happened to Spring? Huge downpours leave homes and businesses swimming in ankle-deep water
She said: ‘The drains here can’t cope already and now we’ve got 400 houses adding to that pressure.
‘The developers cut down about 20 huge trees which acted as a natural flood defence but they are all gone.
‘I can see rain water sweeping down the road from the new estate which collects right outside our house.
‘It doesn’t take much more rainfall to send it spilling into our home.
‘We use submersible pumps and put barriers on our doors and windows but none of that worked last week when we were just overwhelmed.’
Since the road repairs were carried out the family have called out the fire service to pump water from the street outside their home into the nearby brook multiple times.
Mrs Northway added: ‘We’ve had Drainline come in excess of 20 times in the last year.
‘It takes them two hours and I estimate it costs £2,000 a time coming out of taxpayers’ money.
‘The flooding is worse than it’s ever been. This has been the worst since the Christmas floods.
‘We keep an eye on it all the time. We can’t go on holiday and we’ve had to come back early from a funeral because it started to rain.
‘During the latest floods, my grandmother was so distressed she was crying and crying and saying ‘I want to be dead, I want to be dead’.
‘It’s horrific. There’s a threat to human health – mental and physical.
‘We are uninsurable for floods now. The house has been valued at between £850,000 and £900,000 but its worthless now.
‘We’ve worked all our lives, my husband has served the country but what are our children going to be left with?’
Mr Northway, who now works in a secondary school, said: ‘I’ve served all over the world but I only have nightmares about the floods. It’s having an effect on us all.’
The family have been in regular contact with Tom Pursglove, Conservative MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire.
He said: ‘Any new development must take flooding risk fully into account and any mitigation schemes must be sufficiently robust to address it.’
A North Northamptonshire Council spokesman said: ‘Investigations are ongoing due to the cause of flooding to the property.’
It comes after last week saw homes and businesses devastated by flooding after local residents claimed up to half a foot of rain fell in just one hour.
Villagers in the picturesque Devon locations of Newton Poppleford and Tipton St John were left in ‘shock’ after buildings were deluged and walls knocked over during downpours.
Others refused to let their spirits be dampened, with some punters seen enjoying a pint at a pub in West Camel, Somerset while standing in shin-deep floodwater.
Last week saw thunder, lightning hail and 1.2in of rain fall within two hours around parts of the UK, with 35 flood alerts and seven warnings issued for England.
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