MORE than 200 people were rescued during the Storm Dennis floods, according to official figures.

Herefordshire Council’s chief executive Alastair Neill told last week’s cabinet meeting how more than 300 residential properties were devastated by flooding.

Roughly 80 local roads became impassable during the aftermath of the torrential rain that batter the county and at least 71 areas in dire need of repair.

A major incident was declared in the county and the council opened rest centres to look after affected residents.

“Recovery and rest centres were opened in Ross, Leominster and Holmer leisure centres and at thePoint4 provided shelter and refreshments for people whose homes had been flooded,” he said.

“In total 204 people were rescued across the county by fire and rescue services from either properties or vehicles.”

Residents whose properties have been owners affected can apply for council tax and rate relief for three months.

The council has also made available flooding relief grants of £2,500 and £500 for businesses and residents respectively.

“Additional resources have been deployed across the county to expedite road cleaning and inspection and assessment of the roads and condition of the bridges,” Mr Neill said.

At least 71 areas across the more than 2,000 miles of road network in the county are in desperate need of repair.

“Of these, 51 require extensive work to remedy the damage caused which is expected to cost upwards of £1.6m, initially” he said.

“Whilst work to repair damage has commenced, several roads and bridges will require longer term attention and attention to fully address the flood damage and secure their resilience as such I expect the final repair to multiply and be much higher indeed.”

He said the council was extremely mindful of the experience of people who live and work in the areas affected by road and bridge closures.

“However, it will take weeks before many are safe to reopen.

“As of the 27 of February there remain 27 road closures in place with restricted access particularly problematic around Fownhope and Holme Lacy and Walford and Leintwardine.”

Mr Neill called on drivers to adhere to the road closures and bare with them while the work takes place.

Travel will continue to be affected and extra bus services have been set up for the worst hit areas.

UPDATE: Herefordshire Council has written to the Govenment asking for £10 million under the Bellwin scheme, which reimburses local councils for the costs of dealing with emergencies such as flooding.

The letter, dated February 28, was signed by the council's chief Executive Alistair Neill, leader of the council Councillor David Hitchiner, and cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Councillor John Harrington.

They said the cost of repairs following Storm Dennis is currently estimated to be about £10m.

A three-month extension to the Bellwin period has been requested to account for the scale of flooding and assessing its impact.

As of March 3, 405 residential and 102 business properties are understood to have been affected by February’s flooding. 

It was argued that the Government could do more to support the recovery operation and the financial consequences of responding to the major incident caused by widespread flooding.

Mr Neill said: "Herefordshire has been severely impacted by Storm Dennis, with more than 507 residential properties and businesses affected by flooding at the latest count.

"In response to this major incident and as part of the multi-agency response, Herefordshire Council has mobilised its resources, alongside those from our communities, to keep our residents safe.

"We are continuing to clean up the county and this recovery operation will have to continue for some time.

"Clearly, both the council and the community that it serves, is now left with the financial consequences of the widespread flooding.

"It is good that the Government has activated the Bellwin scheme and various grants for those affected, but we believe the Government can do much more.

"Herefordshire Council would welcome the opportunity to work together with Government to deliver the support that our community deserves, both in recovery from this storm and in our progress towards a more resilient future.”