Sandbags stockpiled as flood-hit town fights back
- Credit: Ben Cheyne
Council leaders and residents have agreed that a joint strategy is the best way forward to tackle future flooding in Bungay.
It was agreed at a Bungay Town Council meeting on Monday, January 11, that lack of communication between authorities, no sandbags, no individual flood protection of properties and sluices blocked with trees were some of the reasons responsible for recent major flooding.
Residents were only given a five-hour warning by the Environment Agency to prepare for the worst flooding since 1967-68, where 100mm of rainfall fell, four times higher than the average.
Concerns were raised by Mayor Bob Prior during the meeting over East Suffolk Council no longer providing sandbags because they are not considered environmentally friendly.
He said: "Luckily there were spare ones in Haddiscoe. Bungay Town Council are going to work with local homeowners and local parish councils for a way forward.
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"Our town council is also ordering sandbags for anyone from Bungay or Ditchingham, which will be located at Smith's Garage on Ditchingham Dam and available Wednesday this week."
Talking at the meeting, Conservative MP for Waveney, Peter Aldous, called for a joint strategy.
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He said: "We have got a challenge that the flooding straddles the border. We need a strategy for the whole area.
"Suffolk County Council need to establish funding for protections for individual homes to prevent this again.
"East Suffolk Council were quick off the mark but the sandbag issue needs to be looked at.
"People were remarkably stoical in times of adversity."
But many residents in hard hit areas like Ditchingham Dam, Bridge Street and Staithe Road are in temporary accommodation or have been forced to live upstairs for six months.
Concerns were raised by resident Jordan Hindes about fallen trees blocking sluices between Earsham and Bungay.
Deputy Mayor John Adams added: "Trees in the stretch of river from Bungay to Earsham blocked sluices.
"We need clearer modelling from the Environment Agency so warnings are given to residents faster."
But Judy Cloke for East Suffolk Council said: "The sluices were all working properly, the problem was too much rainfall on already saturated ground."
Mr Prior confirmed that the town council would work with Mr Aldous and parish councils and contact all relevant authorities to deliver a cross border strategy.