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Frustration at empty sand bunkers in Tewkesbury

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 11, 2012

Complaints: Flood campaigner Dave Witts by the sand bunker in the grounds of Tewkesbury Baptist Church

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TOWN council bosses in Tewkesbury have been accused of wasting tax payers' money after sand bunkers were left empty during last month's floods.

Residents seeking to protect their homes from rising floodwater found the council's three bunkers had no sand in them.

It added to the frustration of those who could not get sandbags from the main source in Tewkesbury – the borough council's site in Gloucester Road – when demand outstripped supply there at times.

The town council's bunkers were installed after the disastrous flooding of 2007 to act as back-up sandbag supply points.

The first one was set up in the baptist church car park in Station Road in 2009 at a cost of £850 and others were later added at Tewkesbury School and the borough council offices site.

But the system failed last month as the bunkers lay empty.

Abbey Terrace resident John Badham, who is also a town councillor, narrowly avoided having his home flooded.

He said: "The bunkers shouldn't have been put in there in the first place. For them to be put in and then not have any sand in them strikes me as being rather strange."

Dave Witts, secretary of the Severn and Avon Valley Combined Flood Group, said: "I had a number of phone calls from people about the town council's bunkers not having sand in them. If they're not going to put sand in them, it's a waste of tax payers' money."

Councillor Kevin Cromwell, chairman of the town council's amenities committee, said the bunkers had been put in place before a number of the current members of the authority had been elected.

He said he understood that the borough council had been due to fill the containers with sand. But the borough council denied this.

Its director of development, Mella McMahon, said: "We weren't asked to fill them and we do not hold keys for them."


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  • tewk_rateman  |  December 12 2012, 7:15PM

    That just sums up the useless council, wasting money on stuff that can't be used.

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  • ShireMe  |  December 11 2012, 10:17PM

    Tewkman, well as you say... too much talking. Why not do it? No not "on a council", but i do have my eyes open and try to understand how the world works. Which is more than I can say about the majority of my fellow citizens.

    |   14
  • tewkman  |  December 11 2012, 7:23PM

    ShireMe - It sounds like your on a council yorself. Why keep talking of money and cuts. I'd gladly look after the bins for nothing and even donate a bag of sand. No wonder the country is in the state its in with people who talk verbal diorama!

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  • ShireMe  |  December 11 2012, 6:44PM

    As Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get hit. The cuts have hit local authorities hard. 2009 was pre cuts, whose to say the person that knew where the keys were is still employed? Nationally the number of projects started before the new government and are now dormant because of the cuts runs into millions of pounds worth of investment totally wasted. In the grand scheme of things a sand bin not being filled is the least of this counties looming problems...

    |   13
  • tewkman  |  December 11 2012, 6:35PM

    ShireMe, It's nothing to do with money or cuts it communication and responsibility. Personally I thought the bins were a total waste of money, but surely someone on the town council should have check that these bins were of use. If they spent so much money on them, back not so long ago as 2009, they must of had some a plan of action of who's responsibility it was to make sure they were full and where the keys are held.

    |   -13
  • ShireMe  |  December 11 2012, 6:29PM

    MarkC, the "rant" as you call it comes from the knowledge that most of these schemes are cross-funded. Without the transparency of being directly funded (and even with in most cases) when the sponsoring organisations (including central government) drop their funding then it is the service provider that catches the ire of those who suffer. Not necessarily those with who the blame lies....

    |   13
  • MarkC11  |  December 11 2012, 4:04PM

    Shireme, as the responsible council is the Town who dont get Govt grant, and therfore not faced with cuts i am not quite sure where that rant came from!! The photo clearly shows Tewkesbury Town Council.

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  • TimMessanger  |  December 11 2012, 2:47PM

    Shireme - too correct also don't forget to get a toilet plug if you have a downstairs toilet. The council has no legal obligation to provide sandbags so what is the problem? If you own a house surly the cost of the barriers, air brick covers and toilet plug are small in comparison to the cost of your home and your possessions!

    |   39
  • ShireMe  |  December 11 2012, 2:10PM

    Unfortunately people have a tendency to blame the nearest target rather than the right one. The person/s responsible were probably laid off months ago because the chaps in Whitehall want to cut local government funding to a minimum. Perhaps you might consider moving to an area where the local authorities dont have to choose between piling money into random events (flooding) and consistant spending everyone expects (e.g. Education, town maintenance)? If not then instead of commenting about it get yourself some slats and air-brick covers - much better than sandbags... Due to the present governments course the less you have to rely on underfunded and understaffed public services, the better.

    |   9
  • tewkman  |  December 11 2012, 1:18PM

    It just shows we have people running the council who are really not up to it. Surely with floods on the way they would have check what the town had available to alleviate flood damage and made sure it was fit for purpose. The best solution would to be to scrap the town council and save us all some money.

    |   -20