Friday, 4 November 2011


  On the night of Bridgwater's famous Guy Fawkes Carnival a major civil emergency is unfolding on the town's ancient riverbank. A large section of the flood defences along the West Quay collapsed with the pressure of  built up water from drains  caused by torrential rains which caused  massive sudden flooding the force of which cracked the wall and pushed it into the river.

Emergency Services cordon off West Quay
(Photo Jana Branecka)

Cllr Brian Smedley, one of the Councillors for the affected Westover ward, was on the scene as events unfurled and described what happened. "The heavy rains were causing the drains in Castle street and surrounding areas to fill to capacity and the pressure build up searching for an exit simply pushed a 20 foot section of the tidal wall along west quay into suspension above the river. I was called to the waterfront by worried shopkeepers and residents at approximately 4.15 and saw a further part of the road next to the watergate hotel subside and then collapse".

Wall collapse as West Quay falls into the river
(Photo Jana Branecka)

Westover resident Steve Coram saw the original wall collapse "The flooding was a foot deep and you could hear the rush of the water under the shop in the drains and then the wall suddenly broke away."

The extent of the damage on West Quay-
seconds later the road section subsided
(Photo Jana Branecka)

The town, filled up with visitors for tonight's carnival, was suddenly the centre of a major civil emergency. Sedgemoor District Council Corporate directors Bob Brown and Doug Bamsey were on the scene as Police and the Fire Brigade  closed roads, including the town bridge. Bob Brown said "Sedgemoor has activated it's Civil Contingencies Unit under Malcolm Brooks and is dealing with the situation." 

Doug Bamsey confirmed that the collapsed wall meant "..a potential breach in the Flood defences"  but that "..emergency action was being taken and that the Art Centre had agreed to take in any displaced residents."

Civil Emergency on Carnival night
(photo Jana Branecka)
 Cllr Smedley said "The flood wall was only built in the early 80's and the section just appears to have peeled away and is currently suspended over the river between West Quay Records and the Watergate hotel. Theres clearly a continuing danger of  further encroachment at high tide and further potential collapse."

No comments:

Post a Comment