As we all know, the past few days have been the most difficult time for Ramsbottom residents for many, many years.
Our town and surrounding villages has faced terrible flooding which has led to appalling hardship for a large number of our residents.
On Boxing Day we saw flooding right across our area – not only from our rivers, but also from water run off from the hills. In Summerseat, it was so severe it demolished the Waterside that has stood for 200 years.
Ramsbottom town centre was soon under water, as was Stubbins, Strongstry and Irwell Vale. Bridges were closed and areas were cut off.
Emergency services and Council staff were left running from one crisis to another whilst others were focussing on public safety, putting in place shelter and providing humanitarian aid. Rest centres locally were set up at Holcombe Brook Primary School.
All of this happened at a time when the Council and other public services were operating at skeleton staffing levels due to the Christmas break. Despite the time of year, and the appalling and dangerous circumstances that were faced, Council staff, emergency services and volunteers responded absolutely magnificently to work right through the night.
We have seen a tremendous response from volunteers, and we would particularly like to thank Steve and Lucy Houghton-Burnett who set up the Grants Arms Control Centre to co-ordinate voluntary donations and volunteers. People have been incredibly generous, financially, with food and clothing donations, and with their time. Please do continue to use the control centre as there is still much to do.
As your local Councillors, we have been out all over the wider Ramsbottom area, helping with the clean up and wherever we could help. We have also been working closely with the Council to ensure that the needs of Ramsbottom residents has been addressed as quickly as possible, and we would like to thank the Chief Executive of Bury Council, Mike Owen, for his hard work and dedication over this difficult period.
We also want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped out, in whatever way, for your professionalism, dedication, compassion and selflessness.
The Government have announced that they will accelerate the provision of emergency funds to those areas affected, not only for residents (some of whom are not insured) but also for flood protection, bridge strengthening/repairs and highway repairs and we will feed back as soon as we can when those funds are available and how to access them.
If you are returning to a flooded property, here is some excellent advice from the Greater Manchester Resilience Scheme: GM Information for Residents 30.12.15