‘Sidmouth needs a sandbag store’ - shopkeeper


- Credit: Archant

A shopkeeper who had to wade through floodwater and excrement in Sidmouth’s streets is calling for a sandbag store so others can protect their properties.

Marc Kilsbie, who is vying for a position on the town council next May, claims that many businesses have no space to store the defences – and if they keep on claiming for flood damage they will soon be uninsurable.

The owner of Flo and Us, in Fore Street, says the town should swap two car parking bays for a secure lock-up for 500 sandbags that can be on-hand 24/seven.

“If you build a small shed that all residents and shop owners can access, then everyone will have use of sandbags when they need them most,” he said.

“Not everyone has space for sandbags – they don’t even have room for bins.

“If they keep on claiming they won’t be able to get flood insurance.”

Marc said much of the water flowed ‘like a river’ across the parkland at Knowle before it flooded the bottom of Fore Street from two directions.

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One stream came past drains he said were blocked with tarmac in Coburg Road and the other poured down All Saints Road, ‘bounced off’ the post office and continued downhill.

Marc said he was left ‘up to his shins’ in excrement after The Ham pumping station overloaded.

And while he already had sandbags to protect his shop, others nearby were not so lucky.

Marc lives and works in Fore Street and intends to stand in the east ward at next May’s town council elections.

Empty sandbags are distributed by Sidmouth Town Council from its offices in Woolcombe Lane.

It also budgets for sand, which can be claimed from Sidmouth Garden Centre.

Town clerk Christopher Holland said a store is a good idea and one he is already in talks about with East Devon District Council.

But he added that sandbags do rot, so although there could be a store on every corner, ‘you have to draw the line somewhere’.