Frustration at empty sand bunkers in Tewkesbury
TOWN council bosses in Tewkesbury have been accused of wasting tax payers' money after sand bunkers were left empty during last month's floods.
Residents seeking to protect their homes from rising floodwater found the council's three bunkers had no sand in them.
It added to the frustration of those who could not get sandbags from the main source in Tewkesbury – the borough council's site in Gloucester Road – when demand outstripped supply there at times.
The town council's bunkers were installed after the disastrous flooding of 2007 to act as back-up sandbag supply points.
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The first one was set up in the baptist church car park in Station Road in 2009 at a cost of £850 and others were later added at Tewkesbury School and the borough council offices site.
But the system failed last month as the bunkers lay empty.
Abbey Terrace resident John Badham, who is also a town councillor, narrowly avoided having his home flooded.
He said: "The bunkers shouldn't have been put in there in the first place. For them to be put in and then not have any sand in them strikes me as being rather strange."
Dave Witts, secretary of the Severn and Avon Valley Combined Flood Group, said: "I had a number of phone calls from people about the town council's bunkers not having sand in them. If they're not going to put sand in them, it's a waste of tax payers' money."
Councillor Kevin Cromwell, chairman of the town council's amenities committee, said the bunkers had been put in place before a number of the current members of the authority had been elected.
He said he understood that the borough council had been due to fill the containers with sand. But the borough council denied this.
Its director of development, Mella McMahon, said: "We weren't asked to fill them and we do not hold keys for them."