Big clear-up under way as city counts cost of torrential rain

Staff at Oriental Delight, including warehouse manager Marty Ma, in Whiffler Road, Norwich clear up

Staff at Oriental Delight, including warehouse manager Marty Ma, in Whiffler Road, Norwich clear up after flood water badly hit the business when flash flooding hit the city.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Please do not let this happen again –that is the message from across the Norwich area today after numerous homes and businesses were damaged by flooding.

Torrential rain on Thursday evening saw almost 50mm fall on the city in just half-an-hour, turning roads into rivers as drains struggled to cope. And yesterday, people were left to pick up the pieces after homes, businesses, schools and even churches were affected by the rising water levels.

There are now calls for Norfolk County Council to speed up its planned improvements to the drainage systems in and around the city.

For Jan Harvey, from Falcon Road West in Sprowston, it was the fourth time in two years that her home had been flooded. She said: 'We don't dare to go to bed if there is a yellow warning. My husband is 84 and I am 73 and we really don't need this.

'Something ought to be done here as soon as possible, because it is not only us that are affected. The drains just can't cope.'

The county council has already taken steps to improve surface water drainage around the city after it was awarded £9.1m in funding last year.

Work got under way in May to improve the infrastructure in Cozens Hardy Road in Sprowston.

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The funding from the Department for Transport came after more than 100 properties around the city flooded last summer, causing £2m in damage.

At present, the local authority has outlined draft plans identifying where the new drainage systems need to be assessed. They include Hellesdon, Old Catton, Sprowston, Thorpe St Andrew and within the Norwich City boundary.

Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters said: 'These severe weather incidents do overwhelm the system, but if these things will become more frequent we clearly need to have a look with agencies to see what we can do in mitigation.'

People have spoken of the moment the flood water forced its way into their properties.

Elaine Payne, 59, who lives at the bottom of Hawthorne Avenue in Hellesdon, said she was regularly affected by flooding. 'The front garden looked like a pond and the bottom of the back garden resembled a lake,' she added. 'It came in through the conservatory and was pouring in as quickly as my husband was trying to get it out.

'I am just so cross because they [Anglian Water] know about the drainage issue and are not doing anything about it.'

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Eaton, was also hit by rising waters. Member Bob Barber, 62, said the water came into the church during a youth service on Thursday evening. 'We were watching the rain one minute and then we looked out the front door and it was like a river. It was biblical.'

The Avenues Junior School was also closed yesterday after rain caused a corridor ceiling to collapse.

What do you think needs to be done? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.