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Young couple spends year and £10,000 renovating first home which is flooded week before they move in

A couple from the Swansea Valley have described how moving into their dream first home, which they spent a year renovating, has turned into a nightmare after a series of flooding problems.

Lauren Jones and Cameron Harkness bought their first home together in 2019, an early 1900s semi-detached property in Alltwen. The whole property needed to be renovated, and the couple spent in the region of £10,000, which they had saved up and put aside, to make it the way they wanted.

They finally got to the point where they were able to move into their new home in August 2020, but then disaster struck. One week before moving in, a flood hit and ruined the whole ground floor of the home, destroying carpets, kitchen flooring, skirting boards and more.

Lauren Jones and Cameron Harkness have described the stressful experience of having to deal with flooding issues at their first home together

Brand new carpet was destroyed by flooding

A water hoover and an industrial dehumidifier had to be used to get the water out of the property. Everything within four inches of the floor had to be ripped up and the couple had to start again, but having spent the budget they’d set aside to put things how they wanted, they are now living in an unfinished home.

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But that is not where the nightmare ends the engaged couple.

Just before Christmas, and then on January 20, flooding hit around their home again, with sewer water rising quickly outside their home, leading to the fire brigade springing into action to stop the sewer water entering their property, which Miss Jones said saw the firefighters “filling up water faster than the pumps could take”.

Some of the items destroyed

The couple have been using sandbags to try and stop the water entering their home

Boggy grass as a result of flooding at the property

And on Saturday, there was yet another incident as the couple woke up to the same situation of water rising quickly outside their home. They now say enough is enough and are demanding for action to be taken, admitting they are living in fear anytime they see bad weather on the way.

“It’s soul destroying for us,” Miss Jones, 24, said.

“What would have been a really enjoyable experience for us – I think that’s something every young couple looks forward to – has been so stressful and has been added stress we don’t need with the way things are at the moment.

“We’ve had enough bad luck. Cameron’s grandmother passed away and our wedding has had to be postponed three times. I am on furlough but I’m going to be made redundant, and Cam has had to take time off work to deal with the problems going on here.

“We woke up and Cam said it had been raining heavily overnight and that it looked quite bad on the roads. We look all the time anyway. It makes us really anxious.”

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Mr Harkness, 25, said: “For a lack of a better term, it has been the worst thing that has happened to me in my entire life. It has been incredibly stressful and it has had an effect on our mental health. I work in a stressful environment anyway, and then coming home to this and the issues we have here is like a second job.”

Miss Jones added: “I would just want Welsh Water to act like this is an emergency. Imagine if they were in our shoes. Please find a way to stop the flooding in our home.”

A Welsh Water spokeswoman said: “We received reports of a the manhole cover overflowing outside the property during the heavy rain over the weekend and sent a team to investigate. Further investigations are required to understand the cause which we will undertake. We understand the distress that can be caused from a manhole overflowing in this way and will ensure we keep the customer informed.”


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