QUESTIONS are being asked as to why Horwich experienced "the worst flooding in living memory" ­— as the community clean-up effort continues following Sunday night's storms.

Torrential rainfall left large parts of the town underwater, making roads impassable and schools and houses flooded.

Some residents had to be put up in temporary accommodation, while those who could stay in their homes are counting the cost of the devastation caused as water seeped into their houses.

De Havilland Way remained closed yesterday morning.

The Bolton News:

Now residents and ward councillors are calling for action now to prevent a repeat of Sunday's scenes.

Cllr Marie Brady, leader of Horwich and Blackrod First Group, told The Bolton News: "The worst flooding in living memory has caused significant damage to many properties, roads and schools and businesses in Horwich.

"The cause of the flooding, heavy and intense rainfall, often results in localised flooding on Chorley New Road and Mason Street.

"However Sunday saw torrents of water flowing off the fields above Chorley Old Road towards the lower ground Horwich and affecting a much wider area.

"The green belt and open land between Chorley Old Road and Chorley New Road acts as natural attenuation by storing groundwater and releasing it slowly.

"It can be no coincidence that building on the former college site playing fields and culverting of streams in many areas has disturbed the natural drainage flow and concentrated it in new drainage systems without sufficient capacity.

"At the very least, drainage flow both natural and man made must be assessed and upgraded if necessary, to ensure it has the capacity to prevent flooding.

"Protection of open land and green belt must be strengthened and design of new drainage must take full account of the surrounding area, not just site itself."

She added: "The response by the Horwich community, emergency services and Bolton Council has been superb but the long standing problems with inappropriate development must be addressed, to prevent this becoming a regular occurrence."

The Bolton News:

Horwich resident Carren Bell and her family spent Sunday night trying to empty their house of water.

At the height, the water was ankle deep, and even her nine-year-old son Lochlyn got a mop to try and clear out the water.

Carren, who lives on Sandringham Road, Horwich, said: "The hill deals with the water under normal circumstances very well, but whatever nightmare was created at 6pm we just had to deal with it.

“It was hours of just getting everything up high and getting everything out of the room and getting everything dry.

“I started with a mop and realised this was useless and turned to cups and we got Lochlyn' s sailing pump out for his boat and started pumping it out into buckets.

"We got on top of it but it took three of us to do it.

“I was panicking at one stage thinking even if the rains stops this is not going to stop coming in.

“The water was coming in from two side of the house. So as you were filtering one side and the other side was filling up and then you realised how dirty it was and that was not good.

“It wasn't horrific, we were making a difference by doing it probably saved a lot of things.

“We were lucky it was not like we have seen in other places.”

She believes the flooding has left furniture and electrical goods beyond repair,

Carren said: “I drove back from Tesco and have seen the devastation there, with the mud, the pavements are horrific, I have never seen anything like it other than on TV.

“We think a lot of it is down to the fact that the storm drains are not maintained and therefore the water cannot get to where the natural egresses are. Nellie’s Brook could have taken twice as much water, it was nowhere near full.

“Where I was watching, it was quite clear to see the storm drains at the top had not caught the water it was running straight over the tops of them and our storm drains are massive in size."

She believes that developments in the town are leading to flooding.

“We are getting rid of our natural defences and expecting the land to work and it doesn’t work, and we know it doesn’t work," said Carren, “On a flood plan we are not in the flood district, for us to be hit as badly as we were just shows the drainage is not being maintained.

“Sending a road sweeper once every few months is not good enough they need to get the grids off and fishing out what is in those drains and the amount debris that has come down the hill shows how much must be in those drains."

Bolton Council is working closely with the emergency services with its civil contingencies team on hand to assist with the clean-up operation including removing remaining debris from the highway.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “We would like to thank Horwich residents and our partners in the emergency services for their response.

“Measures were quickly put in place to keep people safe and mitigate the impact of the flooding.

“Our teams remain on hand to offer assistance, thank you for your patience as the clean-up operation is concluded.”

Chorley New Road Primary, St. Joseph's Secondary School and St Mary’s RCP were shut yesterday

The Bolton News:

St Joseph's RC School was inundated with support, with local councillors volunteering their services.

Headteacher Tony McCabe said: "The response from our local community has been heart-warming. Our student leadership team messaged staff late on Sunday night along with governors, our Parent, Staff Association and other members of the community offering to come in to try and get the school ready for reopening as soon as possible.

"All learning has been online using Teams and epraise systems with as many lessons as possible live streamed.

"We are indebted to Horwich and Westhoughton councillors who have come to the site to assist in cleaning up the driveway and outside of the building.

"We were kept fuelled by the kind donations from our local Tesco store who dropped off emergency supplies of food and water.

"Although we have had numerous offers of help we have had to limit teams working in school to ensure that Covid safety measures are put in place.

"We are keen to open as soon as possible but only when we have been given the green light from the safety experts.

"Young people have missed so much face-to-face learning this year but their resilience and adaptability have been admirable."

Residents in some parts of Horwich put up their own makeshift flood defences to stop the water from getting into property.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service praised the action of residents in Middlewich Close for their quick actions.

He said: "They put up their own flood defences and their swift actions would have protected their property.

"The community response and how it rallied that night was amazing."