A Peak District village is devastated after flood water washes road away and severs close knit community
The village of Abney is in shock after a catastrophic road collapse has cut off families, farms and businesses. This is the second time Abney has been isolated in just four years and the Council has told residents there is no short term solution.
Dramatic flooding on November 7th led to the largest land slip in recent years in Derbyshire, taking away 20 metres of road between Abney and Abney Grange, rendering it unsafe even for pedestrians. The road is now subject to a road closure meaning farmers in the village cannot reach livestock on the other side of the collapse, without undertaking a 26 mile round trip.
Andrew Chadwick, Chairman of Abney Parish Meeting and a farmer with land either side of the closure is one of those most affected and he is very concerned about the effects on his farming operations.
He says: “I have 200 sheep on the other side of the collapse which would have taken me three minutes to reach before the road was washed away. Now I have an hour’s drive to feed them and in the worst weather, they will now be almost inaccessible.
“When I am lambing I will typically travel up this road ten times in a day to take ewes and lambs to the nursery field because I cannot take large numbers in one batch because of the risk of mis-mothering.
“I have no idea how I am going to cope at lambing time if the Council do not mend the road before then. It is a nightmare.”
Ron Eyre also has livestock on both sides of the collapse but he runs a livery business as well and now many of his clients have a very long detour to reach their horses. He says the road closure will cause ‘year round inconvenience’ and ‘disruption’ to his business as he also has to make the 26 mile detour.
Other families are suffering the consequences, especially those who live in Abney Grange and can no longer travel to schools, businesses and the care home in Hathersage without making a long and tortuous journey on narrow, windy roads.
Ian Redfern and Yvonne Matthews run Harringtons Butchers in Hathersage and another shop in Penistone and the closure is making their life almost impossible.
“We are approaching our busiest time at the butchers shop and we cannot even walk safely through the closure. Our two children are at different schools and one cannot get on the school bus now and the other can no longer have a lift into the village to catch the bus to Tapton School in Sheffield.
“When the snow comes we will be completely cut off because our only access out of the village is past the gliding club and the snow blows in and drifts across the road. We will be isolated and I cannot see how we will be able to continue to run our businesses, plus there is the social impact on the children who can no longer go and see their friends,” Yvonne says.
People in the village say Derbyshire County Council Highways have reacted proactively since the collapse, putting in place road closures, making safe the failed road and carrying out initial surveys and site investigations.
They say the authority have voiced their sympathy but given county wide flood damage and a stretched road budget, access to central government emergency flood relief funds will probably be required to ensure repairs are completed in the short term.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “This is a major landslide which has taken a large piece of road with it. We undertook an initial inspection and a specialist team have since been out assessing the damage to determine what work needs to be done, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
”We appreciate the road closure is very inconvenient for local people and businesses and we can assure them that we’re doing everything we can to find a solution. There’s no quick fix and we hope people will bear with us while we try to resolve it. In the meanwhile we’re urging people to heed the road closed signs as safety is a priority.”