'We feel very vulnerable': Elderly flood victims demand work to protect homes

Richard Katz at the top of Keats Grove, where his and other properties were flooded on Monday July 12

Richard Katz at the top of Keats Grove, where his and other properties were flooded on Monday July 12 - Credit: Polly Hancock

Flash flooding in Hampstead on Monday brought back bad memories for elderly residents of Keats Grove – as they saw the ground floors flooded just two years after a burst water main caused similar damage. 

As the rain came down, 80-year-old Richard Katz told the Ham&High that he and his wife had to scramble to save their possessions from the water. 

Water streams into the front garden of a home in Keats Grove

Water streams into the front garden of a home in Keats Grove - Credit: Al Russell

Richard said his distress was exacerbated by the time he has spent since 2019's floods asking Camden Council for work to be done to alter the camber of the road in order to divert water away from homes. 

Richard told the Ham&High: "We've had these floods and it was absolutely awful – and it's worse because of the steep camber of the road. 

Garden of 2 Keats Grove still flooded the day after flash floods.

The garden of 2 Keats Grove was still flooded the day after flash floods - Credit: Polly Hancock

"It was altered a few years ago and this routes water towards our houses like a river."

He said he has raised the issue with Camden, but that although work was slated to begin, it was never completed. 

"They went away and never came back," he said.

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Camden Council said it was unable to alter the camber of the road as Richard had wanted, and said it had offered a compromise solution but this had not been accepted.

Richard added: ""After two years the same thing happened to us on Monday evening. I'm 80, my wife is older, so when the rain came pouring in we were in trouble."

"It makes us feel really vulnerable. Luckily my wife and I were okay but it's awful. We have used 150 towels and the floor is ruined. Others in the road will be in a worse condition."

Richard said he felt that after raising the issue two years ago, there is "no excuse" now. 

Commenting on the flooding issues affecting people across the borough, a Camden spokesperson said: "The team have been working flat out to visit as many properties as possible overnight to support our residents.

"In addition, some staff came in off of annual leave to support the wider team to assist residents."

In 2019, a burst water main in Downshire Hill led to extreme localised flooding – with Keats Grove badly affected. 

"Torrents of water" from the bust pipe saw floodwater damage homes.

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