Quick-thinking firefighters avert flash flood damage in West End Lane

Former councillor Nick Russell stands next to the flooding as firefighters try to clear the drains.

Former councillor Nick Russell stands next to the flooding as firefighters try to clear the drains. Picture: Nick Russell - Credit: Archant

Cars and bystanders were forced to wade through knee-high water after a flash flood hit West End Lane yesterday afternoon, putting shops and businesses at risk.

The flood, which rushed through the high street around 4pm, followed an unusually heavy downfall of rain and stretched along the north end of the street by Pizza Express and West Hampstead fire station.

Following the quick-thinking of nearby firefighters who waded through the water to clear the drains, shops at risk from the torrent of water were saved from any damage.

Although the water was quick to clear following their efforts, Nick Russell, former councillor for Kentish Town and who was there at the time of the flooding, said it could have been a lot worse.

“It’s a good job the firefighters were there to help clear the drains,” he said.

“It was shocking to see people having to wade through knee-height water after such a short period of rainfall.

“I think in this case it may have been due to drains which hadn’t been properly cleared of fallen leaves but we’ve had endless problems with flooding in the area.

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“I hope this latest problem gets sorted quickly as it could have been worse.”

Water leaks and flooding have been a long-standing problem in the area and have prompted angry residents and councillors to call for Thames Water and the council to get to the bottom the issue.

Reports that basements and cellars of homes in Fordwych Road and the West End Lane area have been flooded have been circulating since December last year.

Cllr Keith Moffitt, who represents West Hampstead, said yesterday’s flooding comes after a series of promises were made to residents about sorting problems out.

“Thames Water came to talk to us making a long list of promises about flooding in the area but problems seem to be continuing,” he complained.

“When I first saw this latest flooding I was astonished – I couldn’t believe it. You had firemen wading through the water and car wheels submerged.

“I hope it all gets sorted out quickly.”

Flooding in nearby Bishops Avenue was also reported yesterday afternoon with several cars suffering mechanical failure as a result.

The Ham&High has contacted Thames Water and is currently awaiting a response.