One year on: The day that residents won't forget

JULY 18 2007 is a date few people in Filey will forget – when the heavens opened and dumped 82mm of rain on the town in just 90 minutes. Streets quickly turned into rivers and water-sodden cliffs collapsed in the deluge.

Margaret Hyde, from York, who was sunbathing on a deckchair outside her chalet on Royal Parade with her husband, said: "I was slapping on sunscreen just 10 minutes before, then the clouds came across and the heavens opened. It was like a waterfall down the steps – it was cascading down the road."

One year on Martin's Ravine has only just reopened with a temporary surface and many of the cliffs around the town still bear the scars of landslips. According to a survey by Scarborough Council, as many as 100 homes were flooded on the inside and 140 on the outside.

The RNLI's inshore lifeboat was dispatched, with the worst affected areas the Wharfedale estate, Muston Road, the Seadale estate, the Crescent, the area around Fir Tree Drive and the Beach.

A wall collapsed behind the Deepdene flats on the seafront, sending a torrent of water and bricks through the back of the complex, and the ceiling fell in at Chapel Court residential home in West Avenue, where it was lucky no-one was hurt.

Guests had to be sent home from the Downcliffe House Hotel where a stream of mud swept through the building. New owners Lizzi and Darren Booth had to completely revamp the seafront hotel, but the business has been doing well since they re-opened earlier this year. One trader who refused to be beaten was Neil Robson, of Neil's Photography, who used the opportunity to refurbish his John Street business which now concentrates on picture framing and gifts.

Like Filey Museum and many others, he has also installed new flood protection measures to prevent water creeping under the doors. "It was the sheer volume and the drains not being able to cope," he said. Julie Blakey, of Huddersfield, who returned to her holiday home on The Crescent last weekend, said she felt for her neighbours who lived there full-time.

"All the internal walls had to come down and the builders had a real job. But we've been extremely lucky and the result is fantastic." The rain also wreaked havoc at Filey School, where eight elderly swimmers had to be rescued from the pool and contractors worked hard throughout the summer to allow the school to reopen in September.

Since then the entrance to the school has been reinforced and there have been no repeat episodes. On the Seadale estate and Fir Tree Drive people made their homes in caravans and the last of the skips are only just disappearing.

Questions remain about the state of the drains on the newer estate and whether enough capacity was built into the system in the first place. Meanwhile, housebuilders Persimmon were accused of blocking vital culverts near the railway line and Yorkshire Water has still not adopted the drains and sewers.

Since then, fears have been raised about the planned 300-home development east of Muston Road, despite a planning inspector insisting on a drainage system capable of withstanding a onein- 100 year event instead of the standard one-in- 30. But residents are sceptical, and for some the fear returns every time the storm clouds gather.