Tory councillor praises Wakefield Labour leader's 'unbelievable' response to devastating floods

A Tory councillor has praised Wakefield's Labour leader for her response to recent flooding in the district.

By David Spereall
Friday, 28th February 2020, 9:33 am
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 9:33 am
Council leader Denise Jeffery has received plaudits for her response to recent flooding in Wakefield.
Council leader Denise Jeffery has received plaudits for her response to recent flooding in Wakefield.

Coun Nick Farmer, whose Horbury Bridge home was close to properties hit by flooding earlier this month, said the authority's reaction to the catastrophe had been "absolutely unbelievable".

Dozens of residents and businesses to the west of Wakefield were submerged, with council leader Denise Jeffery saying on Wednesday she'd met victims who've "lost everything".

She has pledged a support package for those affected, which includes grants and council tax relief.

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Coun Jeffery said she'd spoken to residents who've "lost everything" in the disaster earlier this month.

And Coun Farmer, a former UKIP councillor who has frequently clashed with Labour politicians since becoming an elected member in 2014, said he could not fault Coun Jeffery's reaction to the floods.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday, he said: "I'd like to personally thank the responses of everyone who's been involved over the last few weeks.

"I'd like to thank the Horbury Bridge community, they've been unbelievable.

"What's happened has happened. It's been the worst case scenario, but we need to move forward now.

"I've been speaking to Denise Jeffery over the last two or three weeks and I'd like to thank her. Denise Jeffery has been absolutely unbelievable."

The council has also said it will carry out dredging in Horbury Bridge and install a new pump in an effort to prevent a repeat.

Around £3m of emergency funding has been made available to help businesses get back on their feet.

Coun Jeffery repeated her praise for staff who worked through the floods and said: "It just shows how people, when there's a crisis, turn to the council and we are for them."

"I went to meet with the residents of Horbury Bridge. They've been through a terrible and turbulent time and some of them have lost everything.

"It's an absolute disaster.

"There's been lots of talk about who's responsible. Well, as a council we're going to take responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen again."

A public meeting will take place at St John's Church in Horbury Bridge on Friday, at 6pm, to discuss the flooding and the issues raised.

Local Democracy Reporting Service