Redbridge clean-up underway after flash floods close A&E and damage homes

South Woodford Station underpass, submerged

South Woodford Station underpass, submerged - Credit: Julian Rowlands

Redbridge is facing a huge clean-up operation after a downpour saw flash floods sweep across the area.

The rainfall yesterday (July 25) resulted in serious flooding at Charlie Brown’s roundabout, the central line at South Woodford, and Whipps Cross Hospital.

A number of residential streets in the borough were also damaged in the floods, with council clean-up crews dispatched to Peel Place, Coburg Gardens and Vienna Close in Clayhall.

Additionally, the 999 control room of the London Fire Brigade took more than 1,000 calls to flooding incidents across London as heavy downpours wrought havoc across the city.

Videos on social media showed cars getting stuck in the waters on Cranbrook Road, while trains were suspended between Liverpool Street and Ilford because of flooding in Manor Park.

Jonathan King, whose mother lives at Peel Place, Clayhall, said the water had risen to around a foot deep in roughly 20 houses and claimed emergency services were slow to respond.

He said: “By the time I got my mum out of the house, it was about 9.30pm and I called them probably at 3pm.”

He said he believed that a blocked drain was at fault for the seriousness of the flooding in that area, and called for an investigation into blockages in the borough.

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"Heavy weather was forecast for ages, why wasn’t that drain checked and unblocked? Obviously, Redbridge were not on top of that,” he said.

“Everyone’s downstairs in their houses is ruined - it’s an insurance job for everyone.”

Redbridge Council has had street cleansing teams out since 6am offering door-to-door help to residents.

Leader of Redbridge Council Jas Athwal said: “Last night, many areas across London and further afield experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall during an extremely short space of time.

“In Redbridge, many of our communities experienced widespread flash flooding and our council teams worked through the night with Thames Water and the emergency services to support local people who needed our help and assistance. 

“Much of the water has now subsided so now our focus is on helping and supporting local people and businesses whose properties were flooded. 

“I have this morning visited affected areas and organised urgent bulky waste collections and free skips in the affected streets."

Yesterday, the council set up a rest centre at Sir James Hawkey Hall, Woodford Green, for anyone who had to leave their home.

The centre was ultimately not required and it was closed shortly after midnight.

Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone experienced a loss of power as a result of electrical damage that occurred when rainwater flooded its basement.

The emergency department and maternity unit remain open for walk-ins but patients requiring urgent treatment are being asked to attend alternative hospitals where possible.

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We are continuing to experience operational issues at Whipps Cross Hospital due to the heavy rainfall yesterday. 

"We cancelled all planned surgery and outpatient appointments for today, and are diverting ambulances while we work hard to clean up affected areas of the hospital. 

“We are keeping the situation under constant review and will post updates about services as necessary.

“We are working closely with other hospitals across the Barts Health group to maintain patient care, and asking the public to check the latest visiting arrangements for each hospital on our website before coming to any site.”

Prior to the deluge, the Met Office had issued a yellow weather warning for heavy, thundery showers across the south of England and Wales.

Today, July 26, sunny spells are forecast, with a risk of more heavy showers across southeast England.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We sympathise with everyone affected by yesterday’s torrential rain and flooding.

"We had extra staff on standby overnight and have offered support to the local authority emergency planning teams, who lead on surface flooding, but so far we’ve not been called up as part of their response."

She added crews are checking sewers for blockages, which can follow heavy rain and surface flooding.