Gloucester man puts house on stilts to beat floods
HE calls it the bunga-high – rather than the bungalow – but behind Sam Ray's quirky name is a perfectly sensible solution to the recent floods.
The retired greyhound trainer and his wife Dawn have been marooned by floods in Sandhurst Lane.
But water from the nearby River Severn couldn't wreak the havoc it has three times before.
That's because they raised their Riverside Villas, Sandhurst, home 12ft off the ground, on stilts.
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"We just couldn't face being flooded again, but we can sleep at night now," said Mr Ray, 75, who cashed in part of their pensions and used insurance money to pay for the radical £100,000 solution. The planners weren't keen at first but our MP Laurence Robertson was very helpful to us when we needed to get planning permission."
In 2007, their home stood under 4ft 6in of water and last week's floods lapped about 2ft up the wall.
But with no damage to worry about, the couple could watch the water run in from the Severn from the comfort of their balcony.
Where their kitchen/diner and conservatory once stood remains under around 1ft of water.
After the 2007 floods, their house was uninhabitable and could not be sold easily. The work cost a "six figure" sum but it has turned their lives around – they have a house they can live in, and one day, sell.
And their house insurance has gone down from a four-figure sum with a £15,000 excess to less than Mr Ray pays for his car insurance.
His only regret is that the builder who made his plans come true isn't here to see the scheme work. Coney Hill rugby player Mark Saysell died in August this year, aged 55.
"He did a great job, and I wish he could have seen it work," said Mr Ray.
It's not just humans affected by the floods – cats at New Start Cat Rescue in Newent were flooded out. Kind-hearted staff at Morgan Supplies, Painswick Road, Gloucester, are helping the charity out with £700-worth of supplies.
Water levels are dropping in Sandhurst but it's still 3ft deep in places. In the past 10 days, councils attended more than 600 calls for assistance from flood victims.
Last night, gritters were out across the county as temperatures were expected to dip to -4C (24F) It is due to plummet to -2C (28F) tonight.