FIXING the centre of Ross-on-Wye town centre damaged by floods will take months it has been revealed.

But this information has been treated with exasperation by local traders.

The flash flooding of Sunday, May 12, washed away paving blocks and their foundations in Broad Street, while water was seen gushing up from underneath the road-damaged road surface.

The unprecedented amount of storm water also found weaknesses in the system which included flaws in a sewer pipe that was found to have been previously damaged, but undetected.  

The issues with the pavement and the road forced the official closures to both.

As well as being impacted by the closures, shops on Broad Street and its continuation, Brookend Street, also suffered flood damage.

Councillor Ed O’Driscoll, Ross-on-Wye ward and town member said he had finally had a meeting with representatives of Welsh Water, Herefordshire Council and Balfour Beatty, the local authority’s public realm contractor and local MP Jesse Norman.

This meeting discussed the timescales for repairs, compensation for businesses and health and safety concerns.

But Cllr O’Driscoll said that he was ‘very disappointed with the outcome’ with work on the sewers taking a further month, and the repair of the pavements being completed by mid-July, and the eventual resurfacing of the roads by the end of September.

“While it’s a nightmare, we at least have some idea what’s supposed to happening and when,” Cllr O’Driscoll said.

Meanwhile Welsh Water will investigate compensation claims for impact on trade, as well as for flood damage, between now and mid-July, he added.

Cheeky Tito’s chicken takeaway in Broad Street, which had to close for two days after the flood, posted online that even now, the street ‘looks like a war zone’ and is putting off customers.

“The lack of urgency to resolve this issue is absolutely unacceptable [and shows] a blatant disregard for our livelihood,” they wrote.

A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We are sorry for the continued disruption in Broad Street following the collapsed sewer and flooding.

“As a precaution, we are now surveying the wider sewer network in the area to ensure that there isn’t any further damage.”

“The damaged sewer has now been repaired and we have arranged additional work to strengthen the section sewer which is due to be done in mid-June.

“Following this, the damaged pavement along Broad Street will be fully reinstated by July 19.

“We apologise that this is taking longer than we would have liked but we will continue to work with impacted businesses and premises to ensure we put things right.”

In a statement Balfour Beatty’s Project Team said: “Our teams have been making every effort, not only to clear up and repair the damage, but to establish the cause of the issues that have occurred.

MP with traders
CONSULTATION: MP Jesse Norman with hairdresser Lorraine Davies who has had a salon in Ross for over 40 years. (Tindle)

Jesse Norman MP said after he had spoken with many of the town’s traders on a recent visit and said that the town with all its repairs and improvements it could take the opportunity to rejuvenate itself with an improved streetscape across all the main streets of Ross.

He further suggested that a multi-year plan of improvements could build local pride and attract new investment. Mr Norman said: “This would not be inexpensive. But the money should be there, from the extra £102 million which Herefordshire recently secured from the government. Indeed, this kind of long-term investment is exactly what that money is intended for. “November 9, this year will be a very big day for Ross with the scheduled reopening of the refurbished Market House, in the 300th Anniversary year of John Kyrle, the Man of Ross. Why not use that date to celebrate the regeneration of this gorgeous ancient market town?”