Worst affected was Toll Bar, where 80% of houses were flooded for 17 days.
“It was horrendous and there was a huge impact on communities,” says Doncaster MBC mayor Martin Winter.
Mr Winter approached the town’s MPs for help. A response from the Department for Communities & Local Government led him to hold discussions with UK housing experts and those who had experience of resettling people after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
“The UK experts suggested dispersing people into the local housing stock,” says Mr Winter. “They said trailer parks which the American experts and I were keen on would become full of angst and violence. But Toll Bar was a very passionate community. They did not want to be dispersed and we didn’t have spare housing stock.”
Within a week of the floods, the council received£1.7m from the DCLG, enabling it to purchase 52 caravans and construct a temporary school.
Later, the DCLG provided an additional£3.3m under the Bellwin Scheme , which gives emergency financial assistance to councils to deal with emergencies.
And in recognition of the scale of the problems, the DCLG relaxed the scheme’s rules to allow expenditure on capital items and increased the grant rate from 85% to 100% of eligible costs. The eligible spending period was also increased from two months to six months.
“Some things in Toll Bar are still not back to normal,” admits Mr Winter. “But all council house tenants were back in their homes within 13 months, and the children only missed four or five days school.”
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