In his Guardian column, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury reflects on last month's flooding in Northwich and the devastation it caused.

NORTHWICH has made regional and national headlines in recent weeks for reasons we don’t wish to celebrate or see repeated.

Flooding reaped havoc on our community in the midst of a national and international health crisis which is rapidly turning into an economic one.

Mercifully, flood barriers stopped the Rivers Weaver from breaking their banks during Storm Christoph.

But standing outside Waitrose with local councillors I saw history repeating itself with residents and businesses again impacted as surface water drains were overwhelmed.

Storm Christoph caused havoc in Northwich two weeks ago. Image: Matt Sayle

Storm Christoph caused havoc in Northwich two weeks ago. Image: Matt Sayle

Witton Church Walk CE Nursery and Primary School, which had been teaching the children of key workers, is now operating from a temporary site, still doing a sterling job but in very challenging circumstances.

We can’t go on like this. Two serious floods in Northwich and Acton Bridge in two years – 150 homes and more than 250 businesses ravaged by the latest deluge.

For the sake of people’s safety, sanity and livelihoods a solution must be found and urgently.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the emergency services, the Environment Agency, the Town Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council for ensuring a devastating situation did not become a tragedy.

And the community response has again been second to none, from helping with immediate welfare of people, to the clean up. All determined to get impacted residents and businesses back on their feet.

I’m glad to report that regular meetings are now taking place with all the key agencies.

But as MP it is my duty to challenge on behalf of constituents.

CWAC needs to turbo charge the response from all stakeholders as the lead authority, with concrete and timely measures in the section 19 report to be published next month.

United Utilities, which is responsible for the drains, has questions to answer.

Storm Christoph left severe flooding in its wake. Image: Matt Sayle

Storm Christoph left severe flooding in its wake. Image: Matt Sayle

Government has questions to answer because to date it has failed to support impacted residents and businesses with emergency grants.

Some will lose thousands of pounds because no company would insure them due to the risk. It should not be left to the community alone to raise cash through crowd-funding initiatives.

There’s no doubt the Government’s laissez-faire approach to planning has allowed reckless building on flood plains, giving rain water no where to go.

Points I raised with the Environment Secretary George Eustice MP when he visited Northwich in the wake of the floods.

OK, he took time to visit our town but what residents are really keen to know is what action will he take.

Acton Bridge, where more than 30 residents had to be evacuated, may need investment in flood defence measures, a point hammered home to me by Cllr Gillian Edwards when standing outside a flood damaged Riverside Inn.

Government needs to understand that ‘invest to save’ is the wisest course of action – fund flood protection now to prevent greater costs in future.

Because unfortunately climate change means extreme weather events are here to stay.