Meet the man who holds key to town's flood defence
MEET the man who is single-handedly preventing Market Weighton's town centre from flooding.
Whenever heavy rain falls in the town, Phil Playforth leaps into action.
The High Street resident, who lives with wife Jacqueline just above the main shopping area, grabs his special gear and lifts the manhole covers near his home to divert the water.
If Mr Playforth is not around, or the rain falls overnight, shops and business are in danger of being flooded out.
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The retired car dealer said: "The beck runs underneath the pavement, so I lift the manhole covers and 90 per cent of the water running down the road goes back into the beck.
"If I don't do this then the water goes straight down to the street and floods the shops.
"I even own special lifting gear so I can remove the manhole cover.
"If I'm not there, or if it happens at night, then the shops will be flooded."
Mr Playforth believes there is a simple way of fixing it.
He said: "The town is in constant fear of flooding but there is an easy solution.
"They could place a cattle grid further up the road.
"I have been telling the council to do this for 20 years but they take no notice."
Despite his actions, it isn't enough to stop his own property from flooding.
He said: "My garage flooded again and I can't put my car in there.
"There was a foot of water in there on Wednesday and it also affected the office."
Market Weighton's town mayor Peter Hemmerman has been battling for the drains and sewers to be improved.
He said: "Despite all the work being done and meetings held, the heavy rain on Wednesday caused the worst flooding since 2007.
"With the exception of the gully outside the fish shop in Southgate, all the areas that flooded in 2007 flooded again, with the smell of raw sewage evident.
"The gullies on every downhill road into the town centre were surcharging and rivers of water were flowing over the grills as there was insufficient capacity in the pipes.
"The town centre was saved by the quick action of Mr and Mrs Playforth.
"A simple open grill on those points would save a lot of this problem, as we have been saying since 2007, but they are still not installed."
But Mr Hemmerman believes there will ultimately need to be an overhaul of the drains.
He said: "We have a Victorian drainage system but thousands of homes have been built here since that time and it just can't cope.
"The people in the town live in fear of flooding and there is a real sense of frustration."
David Preston, who runs Leake's butchers in Southgate, was hit by the flooding on Wednesday.
He said: "Our shop is in one of the lowest areas of the town, so we get it all.
"In this day and age it wants sorting. It is a nightmare here every time it rains.
"The heavy rain only lasted ten minutes but it was enough to flood our yard. If it lasted half an hour it would have been a disaster and would have gone through the whole house.
"The council really needs to do something about it."
East Riding Council's head of infrastructure and facilities Dave Waudby has revealed there are plans to provide an outlet for water running down the road.
He said: "We are working on a scheme to provide relief at the top end of the road that is very similar to what the residents are suggesting.
"It is in our programme of improvement works for this financial year.
"But, in terms of an overhaul of the system, it is very complex.
"There are issues over ownership.
"Yorkshire Water owns the sewers and the Environment Agency maintains some of the culverts.
"We are applying pressure on them to improve their own systems."
Yorkshire Water insists it is working on the sewer network.
Richard Sears, community engagement manager, said: "On this occasion, the problem was down to the swollen watercourses and we had no reports of sewage discharge.
"But we are working on a hydraulic model to see what solutions can be found to the problems.
"We are just awaiting funding and hope to carry it out his year."
• A flood alert has been issued for high tide periods in Bridlington.
The alert remains in force from 6am to 10am and from 7pm to 10pm today. An alert also remains in place for the the River Foulness and the Market Weighton Canal and their tributaries.