Landowners under pressure to stop repeat of floods

Heavy rain caused flooding in Long Stratton.

Long Stratton was badly hit by flooding. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Landowners are being contacted by council officers to make sure they keep ditches and drainage systems clear, amid concern failures to do so contributed to recent flooding in Norfolk.

Parts of the county saw flooding over the Christmas week, with Norfolk Fire and Rescue declaring a major incident.

People in South Norfolk, including Long Stratton, had to move into temporary accommodation because homes flooded, while families in Thetford were urged to leave their homes.

Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet is to create a task force to push for more than 30 organisations involved in flood protection to do more to safeguard the county.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the scrutiny committee on Wednesday, January 27, with a report on the floods due in the summer.

Mark Ogden, the council's flood and water manager, said a "big part" of likely recommendations was to work with landowners and agencies to prevent problems upstream having an impact on communities downstream.

Labour Town Close county councillor Emma Corlett. Pic: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Labour county councillor Emma Corlett. - Credit: Archant

In response to a question from Labour councillor Emma Corlett, about enforcement action against landowners, he said: "This has flushed out a lot of issues and we will be contacting a lot of landowners to remind them of their duties.

"Hopefully that process will be enough to ensure a lot of maintenance work being carried out."

Alison Thomas, Conservative councillor for Long Stratton. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Long Stratton county councillor Alison Thomas. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Alison Thomas, Conservative councillor for Long Stratton, who had to leave her home due to floods, praised firefighters, but said roads should have been shut.

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She said: "Many of the residents who suffered internal flooding would say the motorist took precedence over the home owner, because people were allowed to continue driving, particularly on the A140 and the feeder roads around Long Stratton.

"They were driving without any care or consideration for the bow wave that they then caused and pushed further water into people's dwellings."

The council is investing an extra £650,000 in the flood and water team, while £1.5m has been allocated for a flood reserve pot.

Ed Maxfield, Norfolk county councillor for Mundesley. Picture: Liberal Democrats

Independent county councillor Ed Maxfield. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Ed Maxfield, independent councillor for Mundesley, questioned whether that was enough, while Steffan Aquarone, Liberal Democrat group leader, said flooding had been too low a priority for the council.

Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone. Picture: Alex Broadway

Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone. Picture: Alex Broadway - Credit: Alex Broadway