THE leader of Rochford District Council has made it clear that protecting homes from flooding is the responsibility of homeowners not his council.

Terry Cutmore stunned residents during a TV interview when he said it wasn’t down to the council to provide protection.

He spoke out after residents complained they had rung the council and been advised to visit B&Q or builders’ merchants to buy sandbags.

Mr Cutmore said: “While I understand people’s frustration, in line with other councils we aren’t able to supply sandbags and it is up to the householder to provide their own personal flood protection equipment.

“Even if we had the budget to issue sandbags, there would have been no way we could have got them to residents quickly enough with such a large amount of rain falling so quickly.”

Residents took to Facebook to voice theirdisapproval. One saidthey didn’t stand a chance against blocked drains andasked how people wouldbe able to get to B&Q while water rushed into their homes.

Another said the floods showed how woefully unprepared the council were in dealing with such an emergency.

The flooding, which particularly hit Rayleigh and Rochford, adds further ammunition to the Rayleigh Acton Group, who recently submitted more than 5,000 signatures against plans to build 772 homes in that area.

Linda Kendall, group member, said: “It’s absolutely shocking.Iwent to some of the affected roads on Monday, and some people still hadn’t had any help from the council. People were asking me where to go for help. They were just distraught.

“People’s possessions were out in the gardens and on the footpaths.

They didn’t know where to turn to. I left in tears.”

MrCutmore said: “Our officers have been out and about in the district to identify the areas that have been affected by flooding and we are looking at what practical assistance we can offer to residents who have found themselves in this situation.”