Every time it rains, Steve Blackie is terrified his house will flood. Now, he’s in the ‘ridiculous situation’ of having to tear down his home and build it on higher ground in his own garden
A man with a flood-prone home has applied to knock it down and rebuild it on a safer spot further up his garden.
Steve Blackie has tried walls, gates, and calling on the council to protect his unfortunate property.
Now, he says he’s left with no other option and is planning to tear his house down completely and shift it to higher ground.
The house, in the Cheshire village of Church Minshull, has flooded twice in the past two years, costing the insurance company nearly £500,000 to repair.
Mr Blackie and his partner have had to move into temporary accommodation for more than 19 months.
The road outside their house floods and the couple get worried every time the weather turns.
Mr Blackie said: “We just have to live with the fear that as soon as it rains we’re going to be in exactly the same situation.
“We’ve tried to do everything we can. We’ve put a wall completely around the outside of the house. We’ve put electric gates on it to try and stop it.”
It’s now been two years since the couple first started fighting the floodwaters.
Mr Blackie said: “The first time it flooded was in October 2019, it was ready to move back in November last year and there was a total bill for the insurance company of £281,000.
“We were then in it until January and on January 26 this year it flooded again, and this time we’ve been back in it now probably seven or eight weeks and there’s a £195,000 bill for the house.”
Mr Blackie said the water is spilling over from nearby rivers “because nobody now drains and channels them”.
He said: “It’s never flooded in 25 years but it’s happened twice now in the last two years.”
He’s accused Cheshire East Council of dragging its heels over the planning application – and says he’s been sent around the houses by the authorities.
“I can’t get any answers off anybody,” he claimed. “I’m so frustrated because I go to the parish council, they say we’ve spoken to Cheshire East, Cheshire East don’t respond.
“This has been going on for two years and we’re no better with this road, two years on. The council don’t seem to sort the problem out. They send somebody out and it doesn’t go any further.
“So the only thing we can actually come up with is if we knock the house down completely and move it to the top half of the garden to stop it flooding.
“But, again, that has been in with the council since March 1 and we’ve still got nowhere with it.”
Ward councillor Sarah Pochin has visited the property. She said: “The stress and upheaval that Mr Blackie and his partner have suffered since 2019 is shameful and caused entirely by the failure of both the Environment Agency and Cheshire East Council to work together to solve the flooding issues outside his house.
“To be faced with knocking your house down and building a new one or knowing that you’ll be flooded again this winter is a ridiculous situation to be in.”
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “Unfortunately, the council does not have the resources to fund flood protection measures for individual properties.
“However, owing to extreme weather conditions and flooding events in recent years we are constantly looking into potential wider infrastructure solutions, working in partnership with other agencies including the Environment Agency, United Utilities and landowners.
“An owner whose property is at risk of flooding is advised by central government to take the necessary measures to protect their homes or businesses and make them more resistant to flooding.
“The planning application was received by the council in early April. Further information and revised plans were submitted by the applicant in September. The additional information, including comments from neighbours and other consultees on the revised plans, are currently being considered and the application will be determined in due course.”