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Flood victim: 'Failure to invest in flood defences is a false economy'
A MARLOW resident forced out of his home by last week’s floods believes the failure to invest in flood defences is "a false economy" as the town counts the cost of the deluge.
Jeremy Chinn and his family had to pack up and leave after water rose through the floorboards last week as firefighters began their mammoth round-the-clock pumping operation.
Mr Chinn, who lives in the cul-de-sac with his wife and three children, spoke to fire minister Brandon Lewis when he visited Garnet Court to survey the damage last week. They discussed the mooted £6million flood defences for Marlow, which Wycombe District Council leader Richard Council says needs only £1million to become a reality.
And the 43-year-old accountant claims it is a small price to pay to help protect the town when seen in terms of the cost incurred from the devastating floods, with the damage to his own home estimated to be tens og thosands of pounds.
He said: "I spoke to the fire minister about the flood defences, which were approved nearly four years ago and still haven’t been started.
"Not going ahead with the defences is a false economy, it will cost far more to clean up each time. £1million is a small price to pay compared to the damage that the floods will keep causing."
However, The Environment Agency disagrees with Cllr Scott's £1m funding gap estimate, claiming the project needs more than £3m before becoming viable.
MP Dominic Grieve said last week he intends to lobby goverment colleagues to try and drum up surrport for the scheme, which would see floodwalls, bunds and underground pumping wells.
Mr Chinn and his wife have been staying at the Crowne Plaza hotel during their search for a temporary home after the hotel offered reduced rate rooms for flood evacuees.
With his insurance company is still assessing the damage, he believes it could be as long as six months before he and his family can return home.
Over 50 properties are believed to have been affected by the widespread flooding that has threatened the town after the wettest January on record gave way to more persistent and rain over the last two weeks.
Residents were evacuated from homes on Pound Lane, Lock Road and Firview Close, and the Gossmore area was also badly hit.
The multi-agency flood-relief effort, which included a round-the-clock pumping operation by Bucks Fire and Rescue, continued this week as waters began to recede. As reported in last week’s MFP, Mr Chinn, who has been interviewed by both Sky News and the BBC, praised the firefighters’ work as "unbelievable".
He lauded the Garnet Court community spirit, which saw residents throw a barbeque for firefighters during their week-long pumping operation the last time floods hit.
And despite the upheaval, the stoical Marlovian said he has no intention of selling up and leaving the flood-hit street.
He said: "Regardless of all the problems, we wouldn’t dream of moving out. This is a really special place and community.
"What is most upsetting about all of this is having to leave here, even though it’s just temporary. All out friends are here and it’ll be difficult to go."
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