Dales ‘must get same flood funding as South Yorkshire’

The “forgotten” flood victims of the Yorkshire Dales demanded last night to be placed on an equal Government footing with communities in the south of the county.

Rowena Hutchinsons pub, the Red Lion at Arkengarthdale was devastated by the floods
Rowena Hutchinsons pub, the Red Lion at Arkengarthdale was devastated by the floods

Six months after a freak summer storm deluged homes and businesses, and turned roads turn to rivers in one of the most remote parts of the National Park, council officials and a charity have called for parity with other victims.

They want Whitehall to guarantee to match fund money raised locally to help victims – a move which they say would bring in at least an extra £250,000 for relief work.

The move comes three weeks after the Government agreed to a similar match-funding scheme in South Yorkshire, parts of which were devastated by further floods last year.

The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick promised to match donations up to the value of £1m which had been raised to help people whose homes and businesses were affected when a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours in November, causing the River Don to burst its banks..

Mr Jenrick’s action came after pre-election scenes in the village of Fishlake, near Doncaster, where Boris Johnson was confronted by residents angry at what they saw as a lack of support.

In the Upper Dales, where flash flooding caused extensive damage at the end of July, residents have now asked for a similar funding guarantee.

A letter to ministers from the Two Ridings Community Foundation, co-signed Richmondshire District Council and seen by The Yorkshire Post, asks for match funding to “also be available to the people and communities of Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale, who experienced equally devastating flooding”.

The request is endorsed by North Yorkshire County Council, the National Farmers Union and the area’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Richmondshire council leader, Angie Dale, said: “If they can do it for one area, they should do it for all areas. We need equality throughout.”

She said that while no-one in North Yorkshire begrudged the extra aid to communities further south, “what works in one area should work in another.”

More than £250,000 has so far been raised in donations for the rural communities.

But Mark Jones, a parish councillor whose driveway was washed away by the floods and who remains without vehicular access to his home, said many in the Dales felt “forgotten and left out”.

The Government’s Housing, Communities and Local Government department said it would respond to the request “in due course”.