Lowestoft assured it will get vital long-term flood defences
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Reassurances have been made that Lowestoft will get the long-term flood protection it needs after businesses said on the second anniversary of the 2013 tidal surge that it had been the 'forgotten town'.
Two years ago this week the coastal resort was devastated when high tides caused water to rise through the inner harbour, flooding many parts of the town and costing businesses dearly.
It led to calls from politicians, businesses and members of the public that the town should be better prepared for flooding to ensure the terrible events of December 5, 2013 are never repeated.
Promises of funding followed, with the £25million needed for permanent flood protection finally being secured in January this year from sources including the government, local councils and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
But Michael Hansell, owner of East Coast Cinema - which was closed for two months because of the damage caused by the floods - said: 'Very little progress, if any, has been made on protecting this area. It feels like it's being kicked down the road.
'We want to see some momentum and we want to see something concrete. there needs to be a timetable.'
However Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: 'From what I've seen they are getting on with it and preparing to get the scheme put in place in time.'
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The government's Regional Flood and Coastal Committee for Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have agreed to fund temporary defences for Lowestoft. These defences will be ready for use in autumn of 2016.
Waveney District Council has secured £300,000 for the temporary scheme, which will contribute to a reduction in the risk of flooding to key vulnerable areas in the central Lowestoft area. It will be available and in place until the main scheme is completed.
The main scheme must go through a lengthy, formal and complex approval process due to the potential impact on navigation with the introduction of the tidal gate. However, it is on track for completion in 2020.
Anglian Water has also been working through the year to ensure that all of their outfall pipes into Lake Lothing have non-return values to ensure that water doesn't flow the wrong way up the pipes – one of the sources of flooding in December 2013. This important work is expected to be completed in the next few weeks,
Ben Thompson, principal dealer at Lings Motor Group - whose Riverside showroom was heavily damaged in the tidal surge - said: 'We were the forgotten town.
'A lot of concentration was on other parts of the coast but they didn't get affected anywhere near as bad as businesses in Lowestoft.'
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