FURIOUS residents are demanding better drainage after sewage and floodwater ruined their homes.
Neighbours in Crouchview Close, Wickford, said they pulled up a drain cover so two feet of water could drain away.
Their street was under water after a 25-minute torrential downpour on Friday, which burst a nearby sewer main.
Together they gathered their belongings and piled them in a heap in the only dry part of the street.
The damage to their homes means they are now living in hotels and with family and friends.
Resident John Webb, 61, had arrived home just before the worst of it hit. He said: “My daughter was in on her own and by the time we got through the door there was just enough time to grab everything we needed and unplug things before leaving.
“My neighbours were brilliant.
Together they managed to lift an incredibly heavy grid in the middle of the car park near us and the water began to drain away.
“But our homes are ruined and none of this is our fault. The water just came rushing into the end of our road and it had nowhere to go.”
Mr Webb has called on Anglian Water to install better drains in the road, to prevent it happening again.
But he said an engineer told them they were adequate.
Mr Webb said: “We’re now living at the Chichester Hotel, but I think it will be six months before we can get back home.
Luckily, our insurance is covering us.
“What happened was down to the drains not working properly, not because we’re on a flood plain. What if nothing is done and this happens again? We won’t even be able to be insured and then your house is unsellable.”
Resident Jeff Levy, also of Crouchview Close, said he wanted the infrastructure sorted out so floodwater would not enter their road.
He said: “We need to look at the bigger picture here.”
ANGLIAN Water is scheduling a meeting with residents to see what it can do to help.
Bosses said they hoped it would be within the coming days and would speak to neighbours about setting a precise date.
They would then go through the drain system with them and discuss options for the future.
An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: “We know flooding can be devastating and we have been working hard to help residents and businesses affected by the recent downpours.
“We share responsibility for managing the drainage network with the highways authorities, Environment Agency and councils, and we work closely with these partners wherever flooding occurs to understand and address any issues.
“The flooding which affected Crouchview Road last Friday was a result of torrential rain which fell in a very short time.
“When flood water from heavy downpours gets into the main sewer, it can cause the system to back up and overflow.
“We are truly sorry for any distress caused to residents.
Our local manager will be meeting customers and a councillor to discuss the problems they faced and take action where we can.”
Anglian Water says it invests more than half a million pounds to maintain its network every day.