Horning villagers draw up plans to tackle flood problem

Flooding at the Ferry Inn in Horning has been causing problems for landlord Ian Chinn. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Businesses and residents in Horning are drawing up plans to prevent a repeat of the severe flooding which paralysed part of the Broadland village for six weeks this winter.

At the height of the problem, deep water across Ferry Road cut off the Ferry Inn for more than a fortnight and the 16 staff at Ferry Marina had to board a day boat to get to work; holiday cottages were also put out of commission.

In response, villagers have set up a flood alleviation committee with the help of local county councillor and Broads Authority member Paul Rice.

At its first meeting, held in the pub, affected businesses pledged to provide funding to build up the unadopted Ferry Road to its former level.

Meanwhile, officers at the Environment Agency, Broads Authority, North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council have agreed to help in the drafting of plans that will allow water to drain underneath the carriageway. It is hoped to develop a scheme that could be used in other flood risk areas of the Broads.

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In the longer term, the plan is to look at water management up and down stream and analyse what factors might be contributing to the flooding becoming worse.

Peter Reeve, general manager at Ferry Marina, said: 'Historically, it has always flooded but it seems to be getting worse.

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'The prolonged period this year was down to high spring tides, the wind direction holding the tide in the river and fast-melting snow.'

As well as having to lay on a boat to get staff to work, they had to move customers staying in cottages affected by flooding into unaffected properties.

He added: 'The fish and chip shop on our site had to close for two weeks and we don't know the long-term impact of that. If someone could not get their Friday night fish and chips they may have started using another shop. Above all, this flooding is about its effect on local people.'

Ian Chinn, landlord at the Ferry Inn, said: 'The problem is that once it has flooded the water stays and in the past no one has done anything to help. We lost six weeks of trade and all the staff had to be laid off. I also lost thousands of pounds in water damage. For example, my outside fridge-freezer was ruined.'

What made it all the more disheartening was the amount of time and money he had invested in his business - this winter he had developed a smart new restaurant.

He said for the latest plans to bear fruit it would be necessary for all local businesses to show willing.

Mr Rice praised the response of local authorities and groups in agreeing to the meeting in a matter of days.

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