Hopes grow of Malmesbury flood warden scheme to help vulnerable
7:00am Thursday 20th February 2014 in By Victoria Latchman
A flood warden support scheme could be launched to help residents at risk of flooding in Malmesbury following this year’s problems and those of November 2012.
Town councillors met on Tuesday to discuss plans – drawn up by the mayor, Coun John Gundry, Coun Sue Poole and Coun Julie Exton – to create voluntary warden roles to support those at risk of flooding, in particular vulnerable and disabled members of the community.
Volunteers would be trained by Wiltshire Council and the Environment Agency and paid for by the town council. It is thought wardens for affected areas in Malmesbury could be in place by the end of the summer.
Coun Poole lives in St John’s Street and has put herself forward to be a warden for the road and St John’s Bridge.
She said: “The fact that I am a town councillor has nothing to do with my wanting to be a flood warden. Wardens need to live in the flood area, but not always be at risk of flooding, otherwise we would be too busy with our own homes.
“The water comes up to within 10ft of my door, so, touch wood, I am reasonably okay. I am in a position not to be worrying about my own property and can go out to make sure people are safe and that they have everything they need to protect themselves.”
Wardens will be covered under Malmesbury Town Council insurance, fully trained and kitted out with visors and jackets.
Councillors deferred taking a decsion until the next full council meeting and are are waiting on the appointment of a flood coordinator.
Coun Julie Exton, the secretary of Malmesbury Victoria Football Club, which has had a flooded pitch numerous times this year, has been working on the scheme and is expected to be the warden for the club and Park Road area.
She said: “The warden scheme just means that there will be someone who people would know, that they can contact in the event of a flood.
“The warden will know where to get help and who to speak to and where to get sandbags from.
“They will alert people to flooding and also make sure that elderly and disabled people in the area are okay.
“As a council, we need to be covered and know that we are doing everything we can.
“We want people to have someone who they can contact to put their minds at rest.”
Temporary wardens were set up under a draft Emergency Plan in April 2012.
For the new scheme to become permanent, members of the community who want to volunteer to be wardens need to take part in training and be insured because they will be official roles.