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The street that lost Christmas to Storm Desmond: Pictures show how floods devastated family homes

By Claire Williamson

Christmas presents, wedding photograph albums, furniture - all were destroyed in this one street, in one town by Storm Desmond.

Devastated families from Strabane to Cumbria have been dealing with the aftermath of clearing up the destruction left behind from the heavy flooding at the weekend which tore through homes across the UK and Ireland, destroying everything in its path.

Among the areas worst hit was Warwick Road in Carlilsle.

Heartbroken residents were pictured clearing out Christmas trees and decorations along with their water damaged interiors.

Sofas, chairs, units and carpets were all among the growing piles of belongings building-up outside the homes as residents clear out their sodden homes.

While Christmas presents were being put in bags in an attempt to rescue them from further being destroyed.

In another home - a wedding album full of precious photos was ruined.

The pictures have been hung up in the house in a bid to dry them out and hopefully salvage them.

Tens of thousands of people were also left without power due to a damaged substation in Lancashire - however power has since been restored to most of the homes impacted.

The Queen has offered her sympathy to those affected amid warnings that there may be more rain to come.

Almost 100 flood warnings and alerts remain in place in England and Wales.

While Prime Minister David Cameron visited Cumbria - another one of the worst hit areas.

There is widespread anxiety as warnings are still placed on rivers which have burst their bans following 16inches of rain within just two days.

A 50-year-old semi-retired builder told of his despair having just spent £50,000 renovating his home.

He told the Independent: "I salvaged what I could and then the water came under the door there was nothing else I could do.

"When I bought this house, I was told that the floods of 2005 would never happen again, but they have. It feels like a bereavement. Everyone is in the same position, so close to Christmas."

In Northern Ireland tributes have been paid to a former showband singer who died in the weekend floods has been described as "hugely popular and highly respected".

Gardai recovered the body of Ivan Vaughan around 10 metres from his car in Corraghdown, near the village of Glaslough in Co Monaghan, on Monday.

It is believed the 70-year-old musician was returning to his home in Caledon across the Irish border in Co Tyrone on Sunday night when his vehicle was swamped by heavy flooding caused by Storm Desmond.

Mr Vaughan, whose stage name was Simon Scott, was a member of the Plattermen showband in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years he performed as a solo act.

Over the weekend 26 people had to be rescued during the adverse weather while the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 37 incidents of flooding.

Environment minister Mark H Durkan activated an emergency scheme with immediate effect for householders affected by the deluge.

However elsewhere the Environment Minister has come under fire after a site that he had given the go-ahead for planning a retail development, was completed saturated in the floods.

Local traders' representatives said that not only was the plan at the Three Rivers site unsuitable due to the flood threat - being at the confluence of the rivers Finn, Mourne and Foyle - but also that its out-of-town location would pose too great an economic threat to Strabane town centre.

Now questions have been asked after Environment Minister Mark H Durkan granted a planning application at the 'clearly identified flood plain'.

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) and Strabane Chamber of Commerce has called upon the Mr Durkan to explain why he thought it was appropriate to grant the Strabane “out of town” Three Rivers application in a clearly identified flood plain in the countryside.

In response Mr Durkan told the Belfast Telegraph: “I have previously made clear my reasons for granting outline planning permission for a comprehensive mixed use development on this site. 

"I was fully aware that the site was outside the defined development limit of Strabane and also that it was located in a floodplain.  The planning permission does require the implementation of adequate flood mitigation measures, if the development were to go ahead.

“My decision recognised the potential significance that the development could have, not only for Strabane but the wider north west region. 

"It has the potential to offer new employment opportunities associated with the wide range of uses and investment in infrastructure.  This would, in time, result in growth to the local economy and offset any negative impact for Strabane. Overall I considered that the potential benefits were determining factors in granting planning permission.”

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