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Freezing residents facing Christmas in leisure centres as Billing Aquadrome evacuated

Water levels due to keep rising through the night

Rising floodwater after a day of heavy rainfall has forced the evacuation of Billing Aquadrome on the River Nene on Christmas Eve.

Over a thousand residents at the site are due to be moved to emergency accommodation with water levels expected to rise through the night.

Northamptonshire Police released the following statement on Facebook:

Emergency services are preparing to evacuate more than 1,000 people from around 500 caravans on the Billing Aquadrome holiday park in Northampton.Heavy rains in Northamptonshire have left wide areas of the county hit by flooding and water is as much as 5ft deep in places.

Preparations are under way to move the occupants as the night closes in, with freezing temperatures expected in the early hours. Some residents have presented with hypothermia.

Emergency accommodation is being sourced in at least two leisure centres in Northampton and a number of hotel rooms have been identified as options to accommodate the affected residents.

Chief Supt Mick Stamper, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “Residents are being urged to leave the site immediately and seek accommodation with family or friends where possible. Anyone worried that this may be put them in breach of Covid-19 regulations should be assured that these are exceptional circumstances and they will be exempt. We would, however, urge people not to go to homes where people are shielding or self-isolating as a result of Covid-19.

“This is an exceptionally challenging situation and the emergency services, working with our partners and volunteers across the piste, are working flat out to resolve the situation and safeguard those affected on site.”

Temperatures are dropping and the waters are set to continue to rise for the next four to five hours.Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has also been working hard to deal with localised flooding issues in various parts of the county in including Kettering and Irchester.

Northamptonshire Search and Rescue are assisting with the evacuation, and have been supporting flood rescue efforts throughout the county as a number of road closures and incidents have taken place.

Billing Aquadrome posted on its own Facebook page this afternoon: “Due to extremely dangerous rising river levels, we are now unfortunately asking people to leave the park and return to their residential address immediately! The roads to the park have now been closed and only vehicles exiting the park are allowed! If you have no where else to go please visit The Willow as it is likely we will have to evacuate The Venue.”

And an hour before it this was posted: “Unfortunately we’re incredibly sorry to announce that due to extremely high flood warnings, we are advising all holiday home owners (that can); should vacate the park and return home to their primary addresses as soon as possible! We are also asking those with vechicles parked close to areas of potential flooding to move them!Park staff are doing everything that they can to aid and assist all holiday home owners during this unbelievely difficult time. It goes without saying that we are heartbroken to find ourselves in this position, and that we are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. We thank you for your understanding and continued support.”

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