People in Norfolk's flood hotspots welcome action

Flooding in Heacham 

Flooding in Heacham in September. - Credit: Jo Jutsum

People living in a series of locations designated "regularly at risk of flooding" have welcomed moves to address the threat they face.

The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA) has identified a string of sites around the county which will receive attention to minimise the risk.

They include areas in Dereham, Thetford, Shipdham, Brockdish, Great and Little Plumstead, Pulham St Mary, Thorpe Hamlet, King's Lynn, Heacham, Horsford and Shrimpling.

The NSFA was set up last year in response to severe flooding over the 2020 Christmas period.

It was tasked with making improvements to infrastructure to limit the impact flooding has on communities.

Last year, it identified 16 areas susceptible to flooding which have since seen improvement work carried out. Now, the alliance has drawn up its list of 11 further locations which require attention.

Graeme Jacob, who runs photography firm Studio Five on Bridge Street in Thetford, was among those affected by flash flooding in July, after the road was completely covered with water.

Graeme Jacob, owner of Studio Five in Thetford town centre, which was affected by heavy rainfall and flooding

Graeme Jacob, owner of Studio Five in Thetford town centre, which was affected by heavy rainfall and flooding - Credit: Danielle Booden

He said: "The drains were blocked up and cars were flying past and splashing the water up to great depths.

"We had water come through the front door.

"Two years ago, they put new drains in Bridge Street, but that doesn't seem to have resolved the problem.

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"The real problem is that the water flows down Whitehart street and King's Street, and the drains blow off because there's so much pressure and the water gets into Bridge Street.

Flooding in Bridge Street, Thetford, on Tuesday evening, July 28.

Flooding in Bridge Street, Thetford, on Tuesday evening, July 28. - Credit: Lisa Horler

Mr Jacob said he believes people along the road would benefit from having a type of temporary barrier for them to use in heavy rain, and that he had suggested the idea to Norfolk County Council, who thought it "wasn't a good idea".

He added: "They said 'we're working on it'.

"If NCC are looking at the problem and are going to do something about it, that will be good for everybody."

Norfolk Fire and Rescue crews attended 20 callouts at the time, as the town was battered by the rain.

Flooding in Bridge Street, Thetford, on Tuesday evening, July 28.

Flooding in Bridge Street, Thetford, on Tuesday evening, July 28. - Credit: Lisa Horler

Carla Barreto, Thetford Burrell ward town councillor, welcomed any measures to address the issue in the area.

She said: "There are a lot of problems with flooding, it's damaging and disruptive to the people and businesses.

Carla Barreto, from Thetford, has seen her plans to travel to Portugal plunged into doubt

Carla Barreto, from Thetford. - Credit: Carla Barreto

"It pretty much seems that when there's heavy rain, this area and plenty in Thetford flood.

"Last year, it was pretty bad.

"Some people do get in touch to say they are worried, or were concerned before Christmas, and wished more could be done to prevent it happening again."

The A1075 in Shipdham has also been identified as a site to investigate, which Paul Hewett, vice-chair of Shipdham parish council, said has seen a couple of accidents taken place involving aquaplaning.

He added: "We've been concerned for a number of years as to the impact of flood risk, both on traffic and on buildings.

"I would be delighted if Norfolk was starting to look closer at some of these flood risk areas, certainly those that are linked very much to the infrastructure and the road network around Shipdham.

"I suspect the area they are looking at is from Old Post Office Street, down towards Crow Hill, that is prone to flooding.

"That stretch is frequently waterlogged even if it's a moderate amount of rain."

Heacham and King's Lynn were also hit by flash floods in September, with one Heacham local describing the scene on Station Road as the worst they had seen in eight years.

Homes and streets in Heacham have been hit by flooding, along with other locations in west Norfolk. 

Homes and streets in Heacham have been hit by flooding, along with other locations in west Norfolk. - Credit: Jo Justum

The 11 latest sites identified are:

  • Neatherd Moor and Dereham Basin in Dereham 
  • Bridge Street, Burrell Way industrial estate, Fairfields, Gloucester Way, Bracken Road, Bury Road in Thetford
  • Along the A1075 in Shipdham
  • Common Lane and Grove Road in Brockdish
  • Green Lane North at the railway bridge in Great and Little Plumstead
  • The catchment of the Becks in Pulham St Mary
  • Beatrice Road, Quebec Road, Leonards Road in Thorpe Hamlet
  • King’s Lynn
  • Station Road in Heacham
  • Horsford
  • Shimpling

Once investigations at these sites are complete, the NSFA’s members will begin sourcing funding to carry out the work needed to prevent flooding in these areas.