Flood-hit couple still homeless a year after burst water main devastated village

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derbyshire man has revealed the heartache he has suffered for the past 18 months since major flooding ruined his Grade II Listed home.

Ian Bustin and his partner Cathy Godwin have had to live elsewhere since a burst water main caused flooding chaos in Milford in January last year.

In devastating scenes, gushing water flooded the streets of the small Derbyshire village causing costly damage to homes and road surfaces.

The flooding left the ground floor of the couple's home in ruins and completely wrecked the carpet and several items of furniture.

At the time, Mr Bustin said seeing the water gush into his home was like seeing "something out of a movie".

Almost 18 months on and Mr Bustin, 60, and his partner are still living elsewhere. This is because work to restore their home back to its former glory was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The couple hope to return to their home later this year but nothing is certain.

Ian Bustin, 6ft 2, says the water came up to his thighs as his home was left flooded

The water came up to Ian Bustin's thighs as his home was left flooded

Mr Bustin said: "The whole of the ground floor of our house had to be taken out. Every single room was damaged. We were flooded from nothing to three feet within minutes.

"We thought it would be three months but when we get back home it will have been a year and three quarters.

"To see your home flooded and the processes you have to go through, it wears you down. There's so many things you have to do and think about which can have a big affect on you.

Video Loading

"My partner Cathy is a florist and her business was at the home so she's had to move it elsewhere. We've just had to stick together. Anyone who has been flooded shouldn't be afraid to reach out to loved ones and say 'I'm not feeling good'.

"There's been times where I've cried. I went back to the house the night it was flooded - I didn't take Cathy - and I just sat there seeing the damage and thinking to myself and shedding a tear.

"Everything gets disrupted. You don't realise how big a job it is to repair the house once it's flooded.

"We can't wait to get back home. Our lives have been on hold.

"We've not even thought about compensation yet - to be honest we just want to get back home."

Sign up for the Derbyshire Live newsletter

To receive a maximum of two FREE daily bulletin e-mails from us, as well as breaking news as it happens, sign up to the Derbyshire Live newsletter.

Just select the newsletters you receive from our East Midlands sites here.

And if you later decide that you no longer wish to receive the emails, you can just follow the unsubscribe link in the newsletters - though we hope this won't ever be necessary.

Mr Bustin revealed his story just days after homes in Ilkeston were left severely damaged due to floods caused by a big thunderstorm.

After seeing the coverage on Derbyshire Live, Mr Bustin has issued advice to people whose homes have been flooded.

Here is his 10-point guide.

1. It is OK to be really upset and angry, it’s also OK to have a little cry from time to time – don’t do it alone. Everyone affected is vulnerable, the stiff upper lip does not work. Look after each other and reach out to people you know have been affected.

2. Phone your insurance company immediately. Insist that a loss adjustor visit your property immediately. Do you have new for old or just replacement? It is important that you know this and what your expectations will be.

3. Get a cleaning company nominated by your insurer as quickly as possible. They are experts and you should let them get on with the job while you start planning the road ahead.

4. Start to log every single cost associated with the event – everything from buying wellies to the endless takeaways you will have to survive on in the first few days/weeks. Incidental cost really mount up.

5. Take photographs of everything and store them online in a separate file.

6. Your insurance company will appoint a loss adjustor to work for them. The explanation is in the tile. They are looking to limit the liability of your insurance company. This will be the single most important bottler neck in your claim going forward.

Video Loading

7. Think about looking at Loss Assessors and other services. It may be that you appoint your own surveyor or other professional.

8. Content – you will be asked to compile a list and pricing of everything you have lost. This will give you something to do and give you a sense of purpose. The list will largely be ignored by the loss adjustor who will offer a reduced cash settlement. Hold out for the actual cost of replacing items.

9. Be prepared for the long haul. If you hit a wall with the loss adjustor make sure you include your insurance company in the loop. The Loss Adjuster works for them and not for you.

10. Try and accept that it is going to be tough and take the time out where you can. Look after each other and get a break from the stress and strain. You are more important than possessions and your partner/family sticking together will give you all strength.

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/flood-hit-couple-still-homeless-4266447