Flooding misery for pensioner

Photo Ian Robinson'Flooding at Allanson Hall Farm in Adlington'Elva Manley
Photo Ian Robinson'Flooding at Allanson Hall Farm in Adlington'Elva Manley
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Pensioner Elva Manley is enduring the agony of her latest water torture that is devastating her life – and property.

The 78-year-old’s farmhouse has been under three feet of water again, surrounded by what resembles a small lake.

Inside, furniture is stacked up off the floor and water marks on the wall show the height of the flooding.

The widow said she was “marooned” upstairs at one point.

But it’s not the first time the house – one of Adlington’s oldest listed buildings dating back to 1618 – has been deluged, though she says this latest occasion is the worst yet.

Mrs Manley, of Allanson Hall Farm, Westhoughton Road, says her home is being destroyed by drainage water from Adlington that has been flooding the property for four years.

She is in a legal wrangle with neighbouring landowners in a bid to solve the drainage problem that is costing her thousands.

Mrs Manley, who lives in the farmhouse with her son and his family, said: “I’m draining the village of Adlington at my expense.

“After it leaves my property, it goes under the canal, then under the sand quarry and out to Ellerbrook and eventually to the River Douglas.

“We did warn the authorities of this drain before permission was given for the sand quarry, but because no one else is affected, only the farm, it was ignored.

“We’ve had cameras under the canal and British Waterways have made a video and there’s no obstruction whatsoever.

“So British Waterways then put an inspection chamber in on the quarry field, and you could see standing water in the inspection chamber six feet deep and it’s not moving, it’s not going anywhere.

“That water always used to get away in that drain.”

Mrs Manley said Chorley Council told her she is responsible for the drains on her land.

She said she has paid £1,000 a week to hire an industrial pump, which then has the cost of the diesel to keep it running.

And she is not claiming off her insurance company for the damage inside or outside the house in case they refuse to insure her in the future.

The farm was owned by her father Henry Walsh.

But since her husband John died three years ago, she now rents the land out.

“It’s very difficult. You just have to try to get on with it,” she said. “The farm’s my life, but I need to get the drain cleared as I don’t want to make bother with out neighbours or anyone else.”

The sand quarry at Ellerbeck is operated by the Chorley Sand Co Ltd.

Ian Ashburn, managing director of Chorley Sand Co Ltd, Ellerbeck View, Castle House Lane, Adlington, said: “It is an ongoing legal discussion with ourselves at the moment.

“The culvert that goes into the canal is blocked either on my land or Mrs Cobham’s.

“We haven’t established where the blockage is and the problem occurred before the sand quarry started.

“So to blame to sand quarry is wrong.”

Councillor Terry Brown, who oversees Chorley Council’s environmental services function, said: “We are one of a number of agencies that have tried to assist with the problem, but ultimately it is the homeowner’s responsibility to protect their own land.”