UPDATED: Residents evacuated last night speak about their experiences

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Emergency services on standby at Maldon Fire Station. Photo: Dianne Bowyer Emergency services on standby at Maldon Fire Station. Photo: Dianne Bowyer

Hundreds of people were advised to evacuate their homes in Maldon and Heybridge.

The Environment Agency issued severe flood warnings late last night for Heybridge Basin, Maldon to Maylandsea and Creeksea to Battlesbridge.

Police and firefighters joined other agencies to knock on doors in affected areas and rest centres were set up at Plume School’s two campuses in Maldon.

Marc Lincoln-Fargeot, of Avocet Way, Heybridge, said: “My whole cul-de-sac all went together and kept together.

“It was all a bit surreal after waking up so abruptly and been told to leave your house so I quickly put the important things from downstairs to the upstairs."

Maureen and Mike Head of Heybridge went to Plume School, where they were impressed by the good organisation.

Maureen said: “There must have been about 300 people and people also had pets with them.”

Dianne and Nick Bowyer, of the Saltings estate, Heybridge, were evacuated at 11.30pm.

But as a radio announcement said pets were not allowed at the rest centre, they sat in their car at Morrisons in Wycke Hill until about 2am.

Martin Cable, lead fire officer at Maldon, said: "One crew from Maldon was deployed to Heybridge Basin to assist the evacuation of all houses.

“Obviously we can’t force people to leave their property but we advised everybody it was in their interests to leave.

“The majority were quite happy about it.”

Henry Bass, deputy leader of Maldon District Council, said 460 people went to the rest centres.

He said: “Within 30 minutes of the call advising that an evacuation was necessary, the council, with the tremendous assistance of the Plume School staff, opened rest centres at the Upper and Lower Plume Schools with the Upper Plume receiving the majority of the 460 residents. 

“I was extremely pleased at the response from the community who had listened and acted on the advice that was given in a calm and understanding manner."

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