Video: Pledge to review flood defences after Hemsby homes swamped
09:20 30 June 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Systems put in place to protect homes in an east Norfolk village from flooding will be reviewed in the wake of a heavy downpour which brought water cascading into properties.
Community leaders have pledged to review the plans for safeguarding Hemsby after many homes were overwhelmed by rainwater during Friday’s wild weather.
Properties, particularly those in Newport Road and Yarmouth Road, were hit by similar flooding in 2006, after which a raft of measures were introduced to prevent it happening again.
This included installing new pumps at the village pumping station, organising a programme to ensure drains were regularly cleaned and putting together a surface water management plan.
And council bosses have said they will now review the measures to see if anything can be done to improve them, while Anglian Water has pledged to investigate to establish if “lessons can be learned”.
Shirley Weymouth, borough councillor for East Flegg - which covers Hemsby - was disheartened to see the village flood again but did not think the drainage system was to blame.
“It was horrifying to see it after all the work that had been done to prevent anything like this happening again,” she said.
“I don’t think there was anything wrong with the sewerage system, the pumps were still working. It was just the amount of rain that came down, it was unbelievable.
“Years ago Norfolk County Council allowed for a lot of surface water to go into Anglian Water’s system, and so much was going through it just couldn’t cope.”
She will now be holding talks with council bosses to review the systems in place.
“We will look at things again and see what physically possibly can be done,” she added.
Her sentiments were echoed by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who toured flooded villages on Saturday to offer support to those affected.
He said: “One of the people I was talking to had a rain gauge, which measured 30mm in under half an hour [on Friday]. That kind of rainfall is unprecedented.
“Hopefully we won’t see that again but what we do need to make sure is that the community is able to get back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Mr Lewis also praised the quick response of the emergency services on Friday, after firefighters, the coastguard, police and Hemsby’s independent lifeboat were all called to the scene.
Anglian Water engineers were also sent to Hemsby and other communities to help with the clean up operation, which saw an extra tanker sent to Ormesby on Friday evening to help alleviate the flow of flood water.
A spokesman for the utility company said the flooding was the “unfortunate result” of very sudden and heavy rain overwhelming the drainage systems.
They added: “We understand how devastating any form of flooding is to homes and businesses. Our maintenance technicians and engineers have been working flat out to help customers and make sure our pumping stations are working at their maximum capacity.
“We are committed to working with the other agencies responsible for drainage networks to investigate and understand if any lessons can be learned. We will, of course, take all possible steps to address any problems identified within our network.”