CONFUSION and disappointment has been expressed after there were delays using a newly installed £12k flood gate to close the B3106 between Holt and Staverton this morning, despite high water levels.

The distinctive yellow gate was installed last month, to stop reckless drivers attempting to drive through flood water and getting stuck in fast flowing waters.

However after this weekend’s heavy rain, the usual orange cones and road closed sign had been used, instead of swinging the gate into place.

It took until this afternoon for the gates to be heaved shut, blocking the road and stopping people from getting into a sticky situation in flood water.

Since 2004 the fire service has carried out 22 operations in the area to rescue people in flooded River Avon.

Thirty people, including children, have been rescued from the floods and more than 20 vehicles recovered.

Cllr Trevor Carbin was surprised to hear that the gate had not been used straight away.

Speaking this morning said: “Melksham Highway depot have the key to the padlock of the gate and I had been thinking that water levels were likely to be getting high now. It is strange that it hasn’t been used.”

He was part of a three year long campaign to get the gates fitted.

Speaking when they were fitted at the beginning of this month, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service watch manager Neil Hiscock said: “This is good news for public safety in having these gates that can be closed when this road becomes flooded.

“Many motorists over the years have ignored flood warning signs and became stuck in the floods, a threat not only to their safety but also to the emergency services who have been tasked to attend these incidents.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “Our teams are working with partners to monitor the wet weather and potential flooding issues across Wiltshire. We have been closely monitoring areas prone to flooding and although at Staverton we initially put out road closed signs, the new floodgates which were installed recently have now also been closed.”