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White Bear landlord hits out at inconsiderate drivers in floods

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

  • Infuriating: David Boazman looks out the bar window of his flooded pub, The White Bear, in Tewkesbury

  • Determined: Customers head into the White Bear on Sunday. Below, the site yesterday

  • Driving: Flooding along the Ashchurch road near Morrisons in Tewkesbury

  • Safety work: Rees Keene from Over Farm loads Christmas trees from his father's plantation

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WHEN floodwater surged into David Boazman's Tewkesbury pub it was distressing enough.

But then he had to put up with selfish motorists making things worse by sending waves of water into his premises.

It happened at the White Bear in Bredon Road yesterday, when a huge lake of water formed in a dip there.

The landlord said: "The water came in at about 7pm on Sunday.

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"There was about six inches, but we managed to pump and sweep most of it out.

"We got the level right down, but then people drove past, sending it back up again. It's just infuriating.

"This is a road that's been closed by the police due to the floods but people still drive through." He said some of his staff and county council engineers at the site had been subjected to verbal abuse by drivers who ignored the road closure and drove through the water.

Mr Boazman also criticised the borough council for not delivering sandbags to the pub.

The council defended its policy of only delivering them to vulnerable people, saying others could pick them up from a stockpile by the entrance to its offices in Gloucester Road.

But Mr Boazman said he could not see why he did not qualify for delivery help when he was battling to prevent his business from sustaining serious flood damage.

Gloucestershire police said many drivers had ignored road closure signs in the county.

Inspector Jason Keates said: "We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of adhering to these road closures.

"We understand it's frustrating when your journey is delayed by having to find an alternative route, but the closures are in place for good reason.

"Under no circumstances should you drive through flood water – you do not know how deep it is or what is under it.

"This also applies to larger vehicles, such as 4x4s. While your vehicle might get through the water, it causes a bow wave, which in turn can lead to flooding in nearby properties."

The Haw Bridge Inn at Tirley, near Tewkesbury, flooded yesterday morning after the River Severn burst its banks.

Spokesman Ian Baikie said: "We've got a few inches of water in here. We're just staying till the level drops."

Other roads closed or passable with care in Tewkesbury yesterday included Ashchurch Road by Morrisons, which was still open to pedestrians, part of Northway Lane and Gloucester Road by Abbey Terrace.

Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said they were working with the Environment Agency in monitoring the flooding situation in Tewkesbury.

They said they were ready to take action if needed. The council's highways teams remained off normal duties as all gangs responded to flood related incidents.

Jason Humm, its area highway manager, said: "We've been busy all weekend responding to requests for assistance from members of the public and the emergency services.

"The issue now is the potential flooding the rising levels of the River Severn could cause, particularly in Maisemore and Tewkesbury.

"I'd advise motorists to check travel alerts and plan extra time for their journeys."

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  • howitis  |  November 27 2012, 9:04AM

    Absolutely right that the drivers should be traced and prosecuted for their selfish and dangerous behaviour. I bet most were sat up high in 4x4's thinking that as long as they can get from A to B a little bit quicker, what does it matter about those effected by the bow wave. However I think it is a bit rich moaning that the Council won't deliver you sandbags. The pub is opposite Travis Perkins for goodness sakes! Also the Council cannot possibly afford to hand-deliver sand bags to everyone, and so it appears that they rightly prioritise those who are vulnerable or disabled. Perhaps some of the loyal pub customers could have helped out by driving up to the council offices and picking some sandbags up from the stockpile up there?

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  • Matt1006  |  November 27 2012, 8:37AM

    When a road is formally closed (as is the case here), the registrations of all vehicles passing through should be taken, and passed on to the police. The drivers are in breach of local restrictions. Road closed means road closed, whatever the reasons. Yes it can be an inconvenience to have to take a diversion, but that's life. Bet the drivers responsible would themselves be jumping up & down if they were in the same situation as Mr Boazman. Same has happened in Bridge Street in Pershore - I think only large trucks have been physically able to get through the water (a couple of smaller vehicles have come unstuck), but they then create even more wash. Anybody who gets stuck after ignoring road closed / flooded signs should receive no assistance from the authorities to recover their vehicles (the authorities do have to help rescue the people, however stupid they've been - then fine them), and their insurers should also refuse to pay out on any subsequent claims.

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  • Autumneve  |  November 27 2012, 8:27AM

    I hope the selfish drivers responsible for causing more stress to David and his family are pleased with themselves, what a deeply inconsiderate thing to do. Police should check the new security cameras that have been installed at the top of the high street, to see if they can identify the number plates of any of the offenders and take action. Hopefully this well loved local pub will be spared any further damage. Our thoughts are with David and Staff at this horrible time for them.

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