Horning businesses push on with flood prevention scheme

Businesses and residents in Horning are moving forward with plans to resolve the severe flooding problem which paralysed part of the Broadland village for six weeks last winter.

Former Broads Authority member Paul Rice helped to set up a flood alleviation committee which has seen local business people pool their ideas alongside representatives of public bodies.

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 of flood prone Ferry Road.

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.

However, it will be up to local businesses and residents to fund the work necessary to raise the level of the unadopted road.

Ahead of the next meeting of the committee in October, Mr Rice said: 'This approach of tackling the problem in partnership is seen as a new strategy that could be rolled out to other areas of the Broads at risk of flooding.'

At the height of last winter's flooding, 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.

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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.'

The pub car park was also regularly flooded and at the worst time water was over the roofs of three cars in one low-lying corner.

Mr Chinn has pledged to help with the cost but said the scheme would only work if other businesses and individuals also put their hands in their pocket.

Mr Rice is confident the cost of the work can be reduced by working with local council contractors.

He said: 'When they are resurfacing roads in the area, like they are at the moment in Potter Heigham, the scalpings could be used on the Ferry Road scheme.'

Peter Reeve, general manager at Ferry Marina, who has also pledged support for the plans, believes the flooding problem is getting worse.

Last winter's prolonged flooding was down to high spring tides, the wind direction holding the tide in the river and fast-melting snow, he added.