SEVERN Trent has been slammed for taking two-and-a-half hours to turn off the flow from a burst water main so fierce it was lifting paving slabs.
The pipe blew just after 2pm on Friday, August 14 in Church Hill Centre, just outside McColls general store flooding it and Rowlands Chemist and sending water pouring right through hairdressers Cutting Edge.
“The fire service got here then the police but it took Severn Trent around two-and-a-half hours and even then they didn’t know where the off tap was,” said Zoe Gardner who runs Cutting Edge.
“If they hadn’t left it running for so long there wouldn’t have been so much damage.”
The flooding forced McColls to close all weekend and into this week while Rowlands Pharmacy has been operating an emergency service from under a gazebo provided by Church Hill Big Local.
Big Local also supplied them with lighting so they could inspect the damage which has been described as considerable, requiring a new floor and controlled drugs cabinet.
Cutting Edge was also forced to close and the medical centre evacuated.
“We had water going from the front of the business to the back, it was flowing through,” she said.
Severn Trent didn’t actually start work on repairing the pipe until midnight.
A spokesman for the company said: “We’re really sorry to customers who were affected by a burst pipe just off Tanhouse Lane in Redditch on Friday afternoon.
We had engineers on-site straight away, who worked hard to reduce the flow of water from the pipe to get everyone back on supply.
“When we say we’ve arrived on site, this doesn’t always mean precisely where the burst is.
“Often, we need to control that part of the network from elsewhere, wherever the valves are to shut that bit of pipe off so no more water escapes.
“We’re continuing to do everything we can to support our customers who were affected by flooding as a result of the burst. Again, we’re extremely sorry for the distress this will have caused.”