Search

Flood ravaged South Hampstead residents face New Year of uncertainty

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 January 2012

A fire broke out on the third floor of Casterbridge House and the sixth floor was then flooded. Picture: Polly Hancock

A fire broke out on the third floor of Casterbridge House and the sixth floor was then flooded. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

Flood ravaged South Hampstead tenants face the New Year uncertain if they will be able to claim thousands of pounds in insurance - a month after their life’s belongings were washed away.

Distraught residents in Casterbridge House were forced to spend Christmas in flats sodden under several inches of dirty water after a leak believed to have been caused by copper thieves ran through the sixth floor.

Anne Deli and partner John Harkin watched in horror as an irreplaceable box of family photographs and letters were washed away at their Abbey Road flat.

Standing on blankets laid down to soak up the water, Ms Deli said: “There were gallons of water everywhere. It was really devastating, especially when I had to watch my Christmas presents floating in the bedroom. I didn’t even get to put the labels on them. All our presents were just floating around the tree.

“But the worst part was seeing a box of irreplaceable letters ruined in the stinking water.”

It is thought that the flood, which cascaded down lift shafts and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage, started after a valve fitted to the emergency water mains was stolen for its copper content.

When firefighters were called to a blaze on the third floor on December 2, water poured out of the valve three floors above – immersing several households in water.

Despite the destruction, 53-year-old Ms Deli said she was moved by the “Blitz spirit” her neighbours showed. They have regularly checked up on her and leant a hand cleaning up.

“Everyone on the floor pulled together and helped each other,” she said. “It just shows how people come together when things are bad.”

Mr Harkin, an electrician who lost all his tools in the flood, was forced to borrow money from his brother to pay for new carpets and cancel his usual family Christmas dinner.

He said: “I’ve never seen water like it indoors. It was flooding down the lift shafts and stairs.”

Gary Collings, 54, a neighbour whose flat was also damaged, said: “It was devastating. We had to put new carpets down because ours were ruined and we had people staying with us over Christmas and couldn’t have them sleeping on the concrete floor.

‘‘It cost hundreds of pounds, which is a lot at Christmas.”

A spokeswoman for Camden Council, which runs Casterbridge, said insurance claims are being processed in the normal way and that each will be judged on its merit.

She also urged residents to report any metal thefts to the authority on 020 7974 4444.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Fri, 16:24

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Fri, 15:17

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Fri, 12:12

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.

Fri, 09:48

Opponents of the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel seven lorries a day through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Thu, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Thu, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Thu, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now