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Upper Street flooding: ‘Look what we’ve lost’ say neighbours whose homes were ruined

PUBLISHED: 14:29 05 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:29 05 March 2017

The building work is now out to tender. Picture: Sam Gelder

The building work is now out to tender. Picture: Sam Gelder

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It’s been three months since the Upper Street flood, but six households in Devonia Road still can’t escape it.

Stuart took this picture of his kitchen, which was completely destroyed in the flood. Picture: @Stuart_RockStuart took this picture of his kitchen, which was completely destroyed in the flood. Picture: @Stuart_Rock

The neighbours all had their gardens and basements completely destroyed when a water pipe burst near the junction with Charlton Place early on December 5.

It came gushing down the road, hit shops in Camden Passage and then swamped their yards, which lie at the bottom of an alleyway.

The water mark is still visible almost three months on. Picture: Sam GelderThe water mark is still visible almost three months on. Picture: Sam Gelder

One of the homeowners, former magazine editor Stuart Rock, opened his curtains that morning to see an “aquarium” – six feet of water about to burst through the glass.

His basement was his living space. And it’s still drying out.

Thames Water is still negotiating to get access to the gardens. Picture: Sam GelderThames Water is still negotiating to get access to the gardens. Picture: Sam Gelder

“The building work won’t start until, say, April 1,” he explained, speaking to the Gazette in what used to be his kitchen, now a building site with loud machinery constantly blaring.

“We’re talking six to nine months until we can move back in.”

Flooding in Upper Street in December. Picture: London Fire BrigadeFlooding in Upper Street in December. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Some of Stuart’s neighbours who can use electricity are back living on their ground floors of their homes. Like Jackie Monte-Colombo, who luckily was in her living room when the flood hit, and not in her bed downstairs.

She’s now living out of one room. As Stuart put it: “It’s living, but not as she’d like to live”.

“It’s all very hard now after the initial shock,” said Jackie. “Then comes the realisation. Look at what we have lost – it’s huge. But we’ll get there in the end.”

The neighbours agree Thames Water has done a good job up until now. They are sent updates on the situation every Tuesday and Friday and were all sent a no-strings-attached £1,000 just before Christmas as a goodwill gesture.

The most pressing issue for them now is their gardens.

They remain untouched due to issues with gaining access for contractors’ machinery and there’s a possibility the rubble will have to be brought out through their homes.


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