MINISTERS are being urged to intervene to assist communities in Cheshire following the devastation caused by Storm Christoph.

Cheshire MPs have written to Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, and George Eustice, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

The letter from Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson, Tatton MP Esther McVey, Warrington South MP Andy Carter, Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders and City of Chester MP Chris Matheson expresses concerns over the situation.

It says: “We have seen first-hand how residents and businesses across Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester boroughs have been severely impacted.

Storm Christoph flooding in Winsford. Image: Matt Sayle

Storm Christoph flooding in Winsford. Image: Matt Sayle

“The damage has been felt across Warrington, Northwich, Acton Bridge, Chester, Ellesmere Port, Farndon, Tattenhall, Winsford, and beyond.”

Preliminary figures on the impact have been provided to the Government by the two councils, in co-operation with the Environment Agency.

These numbers are still being finalised and have increased over the course of the last week as council teams have been able to access all areas and properties.

In Cheshire West and Chester, a total of 128 residents have been evacuated to emergency accommodation supported by the council, while 152 properties have been flooded across the borough.

Storm Christoph flooding in Northwich. Image: Matt Sayle

Storm Christoph flooding in Northwich. Image: Matt Sayle

There has been damage to over 330 businesses and residential properties, around 50 per cent of reported incidents are not covered by insurance and there has been damage to infrastructure including bridges and roads.

In Warrington, 152 properties have flooded, with 140 residents evacuated into hotels.

Furthermore, 600 to 700 properties have been affected across the borough and there are increasing numbers of residents indicating they do not have insurance, or where they do, that insurers will not cover floods.

In the letter, the MPs added: “This will give you a sense of the scale of damage and longer-term impacts that will persist for some weeks and months for our residents and businesses, and of course follows the pressures in our communities from Covid-19 – particularly the ongoing restrictions to businesses to help reduce the spread of infection.

“Both councils alerted MHCLG to the major incident last week and called for support for both costs incurred and ongoing costs, together with grant framework support for residents and businesses. Costs may run into many hundreds of thousands, and both councils will struggle to meet these without additional external support, or by cutting other valuable public services.

Storm Christoph flooding in Winsford. Image: Matt Sayle

Storm Christoph flooding in Winsford. Image: Matt Sayle

“We understand that the Bellwin funding may prove difficult to access, and it may require you as Secretaries of State to intervene in this case to designate Storm Christoph as an event requiring additional support.

“We are therefore requesting your intervention to assist the communities and businesses in our constituencies, and both of the councils dealing with this emergency in the context of Covid-19.

“Those residents now facing financial hardship and months of temporary accommodation, together with many businesses dealing with significant stock loss and property damage, need our collective support.

“We hope you will respond swiftly and provide the reassurance of Government commitment that our communities are seeking.”