RESIDENTS have vented their frustrations about 'inadequate' flood defences and drainage systems in their area in the aftermath of Storm Ciara.

Householders in Clitheroe and Whalley were hit by flooding after the rivers Ribble, Calder and Hodder burst their banks, sending water into residential areas.

And people living close to Clitheroe Cemetery, where graves were submerged, expressed their anger at what they consider to be a lack of adequate drainage on the new Waddow Heights housing development on Waddington Road.

After posting pictures of the state of the cemetery on social media, Clitheroe resident Luke Tyrell told Telegraph: "I was discussing with a friend that the new housing estate on Waddington Road would lead to the cemetery flooding.

"The fields have been saturated since the foundations went in and anyone could see that the elevation of the land for the new houses was going to lead to the brook along the cemetery being overwhelmed with water. And look what's happened.

"Will there be a solution, or will the poor families of the people buried in that cemetery have to accept their loved ones' graves being flooded every time we get a storm?"

Delyse Lord who also lives in Clitheroe said: "This is absolutely disgusting; like many people in the area, my grandparents and mum are buried there.

"What’s going to happen next? Coffins and urns floating around, I’d be devastated if that happened to my loved ones."

Another resident, who did not wish to be named said: "It's hard enough grieving for your loved ones but seeing these pictures just breaks your heart.

"We don't lay them to rest to then see water covering their graves and worry what is going to happen and if the water has brought them to the surface."

One resident added: "Sediment running off the building site will have blocked the drains.

"The Environment Agency were called out numerous times before Christmas because of the sediment running into the River Ribble."

The extent of the damage in the Ribble Valley has been compared locally to the floods of Boxing Day 2015, with The Ribchester Arms having to close due to flooding, roads at Barrow and Billington closed under bridges, the Chatburn/Grindleton bridge flooded, King Street in Whalley submerged, and Abbey Croft in Sawley swamped.

Cllr Ged Mirfin said: "I would support a thorough investigation by the Flood Authority and the Environment Agency into why the cemetery flooded and the success or failure of the sustainable drainage schemes SUDS in the face of catastrophic events like the flooding which occurred today, what lessons we can learn and how we can improve things in order to protect places of heritage.

"People are right to raise questions and it is incumbent on authorities to provide them with answers.

"If further mitigation work is required I am confident that Ribble Valley Borough Council can work with developers as it did on the Lawsonsteads site in Whalley with regard to the adequacy and effectiveness of attenuation ponds.

"The question remains however whether existing SUDS schemes are adequate to deal with one in 200 year events where millions of gallons of water from flooding rivers have to be dealt with as they were today."

But Ribble Valley Borough Council leader, Cllr Stephen Atkinson, said the flooding had nothing to do with inadequate drainage schemes on any of the development sites.

He said: "In respect of new housing schemes causing flooding, the SUDS should make sure that significant water run off is not a problem.

"What happened on Sunday is that millions of gallons of water flowed down the River Ribble, Calder and Hodder and that's caused the damage, not the housing developments.

"The height of the River Calder was 4.3m today, it was 4.6m on Boxing Day 2015.

"However, this has still been devastating for many households and our sympathies are with them."

In 2016, following the Boxing Day Floods, the Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group was formed setting out a long-term strategy to protect against flooding in the borough by building a huge wall.

Dubbed the Great Wall of Whalley, it would last up to 100 years, running a few metres alongside the north bank of the River Calder and provide better protection than ever before.

Cllr Atkinson added: "It's going to cost about £4million but I believe talks are progressing and they are almost in a position to get the money."