£100k handout fails to silence victims of devastating Angel flood
Residents and businesses suffered devastating disruption when Upper Street mains burst in December 2016
02 March, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Flooding from the burst mains swamped Camden Passage, Devonia Road, Charlton Place and Colebroke Row
VICTIMS of a devastating flood in Angel say that, despite a £100,000 handout by Thames Water to the community, their fight against the firm is not over.
Thames Water has announced that it will be giving £100,000 to Islington Council for improvements to public amenities this week, but it is not clear how this will be spent.
One of the flood victims, Jo Willett, has hit out at compensation payments offered by Thames Water.
“We’ve been treated very badly,” said Ms Willett, whose house was flooded by around two metres of water when a mains in Upper Street burst in December 2016.
She has spearheaded a campaign for residents to be offered more compensation, outside of insurance payouts, to take into account lost time and earnings.
“We have been offered a total of £3,000 in compensation, which is only a tenth of our loss of £35,000 for having to move out, loss of use of the house and our out-of-work claim,” she said. “We also have a separate loss-of-earnings case, which is with our lawyers but we’ve heard nothing from Thames Water for over a year about it.”
Ms Willett formed a campaign group with husband Stuart Rock in September last year to press for fairer treatment from Thames Water.
“Public relations wise we have been handled badly,” she said. “They send a cheque then a letter a week later explaining what that cheque was for.”
Ms Willett revealed that some residents had not received the same amount of discretionary compensation as others.
Described as the “Angel tsunami” by one resident, flooding from the burst water main swamped Camden Passage, Devonia Road, Charlton Place and Colebroke Row, devastating not just homes but businesses in Angel’s famed antiques quarter.
The privately-owned utilities company revealed last October that it had received 137 insurance claims but only half had been settled at that time.
Councillor Martin Klute, whose ward was affected by the flood, said: “Thames Water are trying to add some extra support to the area. I wouldn’t expect this fund being paid out to be perceived as compensation. There are outstanding issues with compensation with some faring better than others.”
A spokesman for Thames Water said: “We recognise the burst had a significant impact and since then we’ve made it a priority to help the area get back on its feet.
“We’ll continue to work with residents and business owners for as long it takes to get things back to normal.”