Family flee dream £400,000 new-build home after river sweeps away their entire garden in Storm Dennis despite developer’s promise of robust flood defences

  • Government appeal only approved home on grounds it’d have flood defences 
  • But Leigh Adams watched in horror as his 20ft lawn was swept away before him 
  • Developers had reassured them when they bought the house on a flood plain
  • Redrow house builders said the defences had significantly mitigated damage  

A family fled their dream £400,000 new home when their entire back garden right up to their back door was swept away by a raging river.

One of Britain’s biggest housebuilders are now paying their hotel bill after architect Leigh Adams, 46, watched in horror as his 20ft lawn, new patio and garden furniture were washed away in floods.

He rushed inside to get teacher wife Simone, 40, and their seven-year-old daughter Ellie to safety as the river engulfed the grounds of their new home on the 100-house Carnegie Court development.

Leigh Adams is pictured looking out on what used to be his garden until the river burst its banks 

Dramatic photos now show the exposed foundations of the four-bedroom home sitting right next to the river – and their back door opening onto a 10ft sheer drop into the water.

The family bought their new-build house course just 22 months ago when they were reassured about defences on the flood plain by developers.

The estate is built on a fomer golf course – and at first was rejected by planners because of the flood risk. It was only approved on appeal to the Welsh Government on condition that ‘robust flood defences’ were put in.

Housebuilders Redrow are now footing the bill for the family’s stay in a Cardiff hotel after the entire garden vanished into the storm waters.

Pictured: How the garden looked before the river burst its banks and destroyed it outside the home in South Wales 

He said: ‘My neighbours knocked on my door and said the river has burst its banks. It was like watching a film as it was happening. Over a period of around an hour I watched the river bank collapse and take my garden.

‘The fence was swept away along with the garden furniture, the patio and all of the recycling bins. Then it proceeded to take scaffolding we had up to fit solar panels.

‘I rushed my family out. I had to get them out and away from the property. We are all traumatised.’

Leigh and wife Simone had to guide daughter Ellie to safety while she was still in her pyjamas.

Leigh said: ‘My wife and daughter just sat in the car because we didn’t know where to go. We have wonderful neighbours who said “Let’s start moving things”.’

‘They helped us get our daughter’s teddy bears out and we moved our photos upstairs.’

The couple bought their Redrow home on the Carnegie Court estate in Bassaleg, near Newport, South Wales, in May 2018.

Leigh says their four bedroom house is now acting as a flood barrier for the River Ebbw for the rest of their estate.

Their neighbour alerted them to the danger at 6am the morning after Storm Dennis hit Britain.

Architect Leigh and teacher Simone are now calling for Redrow developers to move them into a new house on the same estate.

Simone said: ‘When we bought the house we were given cast iron guarantees. We bought the house in good faith. The pair of us are at breaking point. There is so much uncertainty.’

Leigh added: ‘We were assured by the developers that all the flood defences were in place. My house never was fit for purpose.’

The couple are now waiting to find out if they will be rehoused by Redrow, one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders employing more than 2,000 people.

A spokesman for Newport Council said it was working to ‘protect people and property’ at the riverside site.

He said: ‘In 2005, Newport City Council refused planning permission for a residential development on the former Tredegar Park Golf Course on the grounds of the flood risk and the loss of the natural floodplain.’

But that decision was overturned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The spokesman said: ‘It concluded that the risk of flooding would not be unacceptable and placed considerable weight on the applicant’s claim that new flood defences would provide enhanced further protection further downstream.’

Kate Lacey, head of customer services at Redrow South Wales said: ‘We understand this is a difficult and distressing time for Mr Adams, his family and all those in the local community who’ve been seriously affected by Storms Dennis and Ciara.

‘We are doing all we can to support him as a valued customer, including acting quickly to arrange temporary hotel accommodation.

‘Although we appreciate it may be little consolation for Mr Adams, the flood defence works approved by the relevant authorities and put in place near the site, and further up the River Ebbw, helped to significantly mitigate the damage from this extreme weather event.

‘There are 108 occupied homes on the site and the Adams’ home remains the only uninhabitable property as a result of storm damage.

‘We will continue to do what we can to help the Adams family during this distressing time.’


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