A BURST water main on Britain's hottest day caused traffic chaos, flooded businesses and forced parents to carry children to school in Oakworth village centre.

And the huge fountain of water outside properties in Lidget caused a massive metre-deep crater in the road surface, closing off access from Keighley Road.

Water rushed down Station Road with such force it woke residents, including mum-of-two Vicky Feather.

"At about 7am, we heard a great gushing of water and dived downstairs to see what was going on.

"It was like a waterfall coming down past our house," said Mrs Feather.

"The kids ended up taking their socks and shoes off to paddle across the road to the primary school.

"This isn't the first time it's happened in Oakworth; something really needs to be done," she added.

And hairdresser Gemma Gallagher has now suffered twice from such problems with Oakworth's water supply.

"About three years ago I had the salon at the top of Lidget, when a main burst and that got badly flooded.

"Then I moved down the road to open Cutting Edge, which was badly flooded this morning," said lifelong Oakworth resident Mrs Gallagher, whose second child is due in four weeks' time.

"I've just started maternity leave so I didn't really need this happening as well.

"But Yorkshire Water and my insurance people will sort it all out between them.

"The problem is all the pipes here are so old they just keep bursting - it must have happened six or seven times in the village that I can remember.

"Anyway, my five-year-old daughter, Grace, was very excited by it all, and my dad had to carry her to school through the water."

Her previous business is now the Unique Salon, run by hair and beauty expert Bernadette Atha and which narrowly avoided yesterday's floods.

"It's disgusting because all of us are trying to earn a living, and something needs doing with the water supply in Oakworth to stop this from happening," said Miss Atha, 25.

"We also really need new drains - whenever it rains, the grate up the road lifts up with the water. If I phone Yorkshire Water, I just get passed from pillar to post or put on hold," added Miss Atha, who has owned Unique for nearly three years.

Sean Whitaker was at work building spa baths when flatmates rang to say their home behind the shops was swimming in several inches of water.

"I don't suppose it can be helped, and I must say Yorkshire Water is being very good and has told us to just get a hotel until Monday and see how things are then."

Ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen said she will be pressing Yorkshire Water for a timetable of improvements to Oakworth’s water system: “I will contact Yorkshire Water as we need reassuring there is a plan in place to carry out a full survey and replace old pipes.

“This is not the first such occasion, and my sympathies are with those people affected.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said it was hoped the Keighley Road into Oakworth would be re-opened on Friday.

"We would like to apologise to anyone who has been affected by the burst on one of our 12in pipes in Keighley Road, Oakworth.

"The burst caused an interruption to water supply in the area, but this was restored by 11am,” the spokesman said "Three properties, a business and two homes have also been damaged by the burst. We are working closely with the owners of these properties, and have offered to put the homeowners in a hotel until the damage has been repaired.

"The repair has started now, and we expect the road to be closed until this is completed.

"Diversions will be in place. Once again we would sincerely like to apologise for the inconvenience."