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Photo galleries: King’s Lynn’s flood defences set to be replaced after December storm surge that devastated the Norfolk coast

PUBLISHED: 13:27 18 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:27 18 January 2014

The Custom House surrounded by water during the December 5 storm. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Custom House surrounded by water during the December 5 storm. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

Flood gates around King’s Lynn’s historic quays will be replaced as part of a £1.2m refurbishment of the town’s defences.

MP Henry Bellingham (2nd left) visits the flood damaged on Snettisham Beach. With him from left, is EA area manager Julie Foley, parish council chairman Eric Langford and EA project manager for repair work Ryan Ely. Picture: Matthew Usher. MP Henry Bellingham (2nd left) visits the flood damaged on Snettisham Beach. With him from left, is EA area manager Julie Foley, parish council chairman Eric Langford and EA project manager for repair work Ryan Ely. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Waters came within inches of overwhelming gates around the Outer Purfleet during the December storm surge.

Today Julie Foley, area manager for the Environment Agency, said work on replacing the structures would begin in April.

“The flood gates are over 30 years old and they need replacing,” she said. “They’ve never been tested in this way before.

“The flood gates did well to withstand this significant event, but it’s clear that significant investment is needed. We need a new set of gates.”

• Click here for more stories on the Norfolk floods

Environment Agency officials revealed the move as they showed North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham and parish councillors work which has been carried out since the December 5 storm.

Parts of the shingle bank, which protects 3,000 caravans, had been reduced to around a quarter of its width by the highest tide for 60 years.

“We imported 1,000 tonnes of carr stone rock armour from a local quarry to replace what was lost,” said EA project manager Ryan Ely. “We used 9,200 tonnes of sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp and that meant we were able to reinstate the ridge to 75pc of its planned width.”

A tide mark showing how high the waters rose in December was clearly visible on the side of one property on the seaward side of the bank. Engineers hope the work will enable the defences to withstand the next set of high tides, which are expected around February 1.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “We can’t be too complacent, there’s got to be future investment, we’ve got to repair the damage that’s been done.”

Officials expect the work at Snettisham to cost around £100,000. The figure does not include repairing damaged hides and habitats on the nearby RSPB reserve.

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