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Severe weather brings travel chaos to Frome with January floods


Occupants of a car at Wallbridge in Frome are rescued by the owner of a 4x4.

Occupants of a car at Wallbridge in
Frome are rescued by the owner of a 4×4.

THE recent severe wet weather has caused the River Frome to burst its banks in the Wallbridge area, a part of Frome which is notoriously bad for flooding.

Roads were reduced to rivers and fields already saturated turned into lakes as once again, heavy flooding hit Frome. Four feet of floodwater was reported at Wallbridge and Blatchbridge after the River Frome burst its banks. The Police and Fire Service put out warning signs closing the roads and road users were advised to avoid these areas. Several motorists had to be rescued by 4×4 vehicles after stalling while trying to navigate through flooded areas.

This follows the recent spell of torrential rain and high winds seen at the start of the festive period. The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for Frome on Wednesday 1st January and this was still in place on Thursday 9th January. The level of the River Frome at Rodden  at 4.00am on Wednesday 8th January was measured at 0.90 metres, whereas the typical range is between 0.36 and 0.70 metres.

The flooding has also brought the conflict surrounding Asda being built on a flood plain to a head, with several people commenting that it is responsible for the local flooding. The Rodden Nature Reserve next to Asda was created after farmland, under licence from the Environment Agency, was redeveloped and transformed to form an extended floodplain and river diversion when Asda was built. However, the flooding still occurs and Martin Bax, a former town and district councillor who was a founder of Heart of Frome, a group campaigning to stop out of town supermarkets, said that flashing flood warning signs had still not been installed at Wallbridge despite them being a condition of Asda’s planning permission.

Recent Asda expansion plans hope to address this issue and Asda’s estates town planning manager Alan Jones said Asda would be installing five flood warning signs on the approach roads to the store so that drivers could take an alternative route if the River Frome burst its banks.

Environment Agency teams continue to work around the clock checking and maintaining flood defences, clearing blockages in watercourses, deploying temporary defences, monitoring water levels and issuing flood warnings where necessary.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said, “Further inland heavy rain has left ground saturated, increasing the risk of river and surface water flooding.”