People living in Norfolk's 16 flooding hot spots call for more help

Brian Tomlinson

Mr Brian Tomlinson now feels the residents have no choice but to take care of matters themselves when it comes to flood defense. - Credit: James Weeds

A long-suffering village, a Broadside street and part of one of the county's busiest roads have been listed among 16 flooding hot-spots identified by a council's new task force.

Kenninghall Stores was left destroyed by flooding over the Christmas period.

Kenninghall Stores was left destroyed by flooding over the Christmas period. - Credit: Mike Humphreys

But people living in some of the 16 places pinpointed say they feel more needed to be done to tackle the scourge of flooding.

The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA), set up this year in response to severe flooding over the Christmas period, has highlighted more than a dozen sites, which will be investigated as part of its work.

People from Kenninghall, Cranworth, Burnham Market and Hemsby - amongst the 16 most high-risk areas of flooding - have welcomed a new emergency phoneline set up - but feel more than be done to improve defences. 

Mike Humphries, owner of the recently flooded Premier store in Kenninghall, said: "While it is nice to have that contact, it doesn't negate the need for improvements to flood defences.

"Maybe it would be good to have a service which warns us of flooding before it occurs rather than after.


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"To my knowledge, nothing has happened in Kenninghall with regards to flood defence since the banks burst last Christmas.

"It is resolvable, but there don't seem to be any clear plans.

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"I'm disappointed to be included in the high-risk areas, but, we were flooded, so maybe it's right.

"However, our issue is easily solved. I just wish it would be."

Mr Humphries added: "Kenninghall is such a beautiful place to live. I don't think people would be put off living here.

"It flooded 60 years ago and that didn't stop anyone.

"Being given a new contact number and being added to a list doesn't resolve the issue.

"We need action."

Mrs Tomlinson was not that worried about the potential affect on house prices. "We have no plans to move," she said.

Kenninghall Stores was left destroyed by flooding over the Christmas period.

Kenninghall Stores was left destroyed by flooding over the Christmas period. - Credit: Mike Humphreys

One person from Cranworth was evacuated from their home, after a series of flash floods across the county on Christmas Day last year.

Cllr Charles Brown, chairman of Cranworth parish council said: "We need to be at the top of the list.

"We have serious problems, which nobody seems to be able to solve.

"A few months ago, one of our meadows became a lake - cars had been written off,  homes have been ruined.

"With climate change, it is becoming a huge problem.

"I hope something does get sorted soon. Hopefully, something substantial will be done before winter.

"Talk is cheap, though. We need action."

An Anglian Water tanker and engineering van on site at St Peter's Close in Yaxham

An Anglian Water tanker and engineering van on site at St Peter's Close in Yaxham - Credit: Yaxham Parish Council

More recently, Burnham Market was put on high alert after water began seeping into people's basements.

Chairman of Burnham Market parish council, Paul Woodhouse, said: "I think it's a very good thing that we have been included on this list, I really do.

"We've had a dreadful winter.

"I have lived in Burnham Market for 70 years and it is the first time I can remember it ever being this bad.

"Anglian Water and the highways Agency have done wonderfully over the past few months, so hopefully something will be sorted.

"We've had no real flood issues yet, water in cellars and on driveways, but fortunately, businesses and homes have been safe.

"But it might only be a matter of time.

"Hopefully, with our village being on the list, that will help things along for a real solution to the problem."

The view looking down Ringstead Road in Burnham Market, which is next to Church Walk/B1155 closed by police. Photo taken...

The view looking down Ringstead Road in Burnham Market, which is next to Church Walk/B1155 closed by police. Photo taken on February 9 after the snowfalls of Storm Darcy. - Credit: Nina Plumbe

Newport Road in Hemsby is also included in the high-risk areas, with the area flooded twice in the past two decades.

Brian and Sandra Tomlinson have lived on Newport Road since 1975 and feel they have no security.

Mrs Tomlinson said: "We have no real backup.

"We're being told things are going to be done, but I can't see much has been done so far.

"If we hadn't have had the builders put in an extra course of bricks in our property, we would have been flooded."

Peggy Sutton, who also lives on Newport Road, was flooded in 2006 and again in 2014.

Mrs Sutton, a resident of Hemsby for 74 years, said: "We have benefitted from three new drains being installed in the road.

"But, we're waiting for them to be unblocked, and it only takes half an hour of constant rain for us to be flooded.

"I don't think it's going to get any better.

"I have planks ready to go across my driveway to prevent standing water on the road getting in.," Mrs Sutton added.

Mrs Peggy Sutton's makeshift food defense to protect her driveway from standing water from Newport Road.

Mrs Peggy Sutton's makeshift food defense to protect her driveway from standing water from Newport Road. - Credit: James Weeds

Mrs Peggy Sutton's makeshift food defense to protect her driveway from standing water from Newport Road.

Mrs Peggy Sutton's makeshift food defense to protect her driveway from standing water from Newport Road. - Credit: James Weeds

"We are trying to help ourselves, because we just don't know when something substantial will be done," Mr Tomlinson said.

"I've got a stack of sandbags in my shed just in case."

"When we need something done, we need help there and then. We need to be proactive rather than reactive," said Mrs Sutton.

What are the 16 places?

The task force has identified 16 areas that are at high risk of flooding. 

These are:

  • Burgh Road/Beccles Rd, Gorleston
  • Ferry Road, Horning
  • A1101, Welney Wash
  • Necton
  • Burnham Market and North and South Creake
  • Tunstead
  • A140, Long Stratton
  • Norwich Road, Strumpshaw
  • Gayton
  • Watton/Saham Toney
  • Mattishall
  • A143 Redenhall
  • Yaxham
  • Kenninghall
  • Cranworth
  • Newport Rd/Yarmouth Rd, Hemsby

A new leaflet with all relevant flood information, including the new number, will be distributed to households throughout the county over the next week.

In the event of flooding residents can call 0344 800 8013 to report it.

Alternatively, residents can continue to report flooding online via www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding

What has the task force said?

Lord Richard Dannatt, chairman of the Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA), said: “When flooding hits, people have to make quick decisions on how to react.

"For those who want to alert others and report a flood, the process of finding the right agency could be slow and frustrating, wasting valuable time.

"This new initiative makes reporting a flood faster and easier, allowing residents to get on with protecting their families and property."

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Last winter saw heavy rainfall and flooding across our county.

"People affected were trying to report flooding and get some help with some residents using phone numbers 15 years old or more.

"That can’t happen again.

"In an emergency we need to be able to know where people need help and make it easier for them to report flooding."

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