Storm surge could cost North Norfolk District Council £500,000
- Credit: citizenside.com
Cash-strapped council chiefs are continuing to count the cost of the storm surge which wreaked havoc along the coast earlier this month.
North Norfolk District Council revealed it is facing a bill of up to £500,000 after some of its assets - including Cromer Pier - suffered what it described as 'significant damage'.
That, it says, depends on Environment Agency grant funding and insurance claims.
However, the local authority pointed out that lessons had been learned following the storm surge in December 2013 and revealed the bill could have been much higher had it not been for the new flood defences in place.
The report, due to be presented to councillors on the Cabinet next week, goes on to praise the response of the council and its partners - under the umbrella of the Norfolk Resilience Forum - and praises the work of the volunteer flood wardens who helped evacuate homes in Walcott and Salthouse on Friday 13th.
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It states: 'The total cost to the Council for coastal works as a result of the storm surge is estimated to be between £300,000 and £500,000 depending on Environment Agency grant funding and insurance claims.
'In general terms, this event was managed extremely well by the Council working in partnership with volunteers and emergency services and other agencies.
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'There are varying levels of damage to our sea defence and sea front infrastructure all along the coast between Sheringham and Walcott, although nothing as bad as the damage sustained in the 2013 floods.
'Members will recall that North Norfolk had the highest uptake of property level flood protection grants which were administered by the Council after the 2013 storm surge. It is extremely pleasing to note that, generally, the works enabled by these grants have protected many of the properties which would otherwise have been flooded by the recent event.'
Cromer Pier, which is owned by the council, suffered at the hands of the sea, with damage reported to the Theatre bar, Box Office and Tides Restaurant.
However, the council moved quickly to reopen the iconic structure.
A major blockage in the sewerage system, caused by the sand washed up by the storm surge, in front of the pier has also been cleared.
But a number of privately-owned chalets and beach huts were also damaged or destroyed.
The report continues: 'Whilst all areas were provided with signs and were closed promptly before the high tides and storm, it was considered a priority to get public areas cleared and made safe and then re-opened as soon as possible.
'The response between Council officers and contractors was excellent from Saturday, January 14, which ensured all affected areas were open within a very short timescale
'The Property Services Team are developing a system to close off the Pier and seafront areas as early as possible by holding fencing and signs in pre-determined places which can be erected quickly.'
And it adds: 'Some property level protection against ingress of water and other damage will be provided at our own assets such as The Rocket House, the Pier, and the RNLI Museum.'