Residents: ‘Why was Yarmouth allowed to flood?’

ELECTRICAL storms knocked out three emergency pumps as streets across Great Yarmouth flooded in torrential rain.

And residents are furious that flash flooding is still allowed to happen after extreme floods in 2006, which affected more than 100 properties.

Anglian Water invested �5m in drainage in the Northgate Street area after 2006, and experts will visit the borough this month as part of an ongoing defence strategy.

But Monday's flooding showed the borough has some way to go before residents' fears can be allayed.

Anglian Water engineers were scrambled when water levels began to rise, and firefighters were called out to assist homeowners.

Antony Innes, of Anglian Water, said: 'Our infrastructure in Yarmouth held up very well in the face of exceptionally heavy rainfall on Monday.

'Electrical storms in the area did cause three pumps to fail, but local engineers reacted quickly to restart these pumps and ensure they continued to work to their full capacity.

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'There has been a history of surface water flooding in Great Yarmouth following periods of heavy rainfall, which is clearly a distressing situation for residents.'

He added a significant �5m investment was made in the Northgate Street area following the severe flooding in 2006 and 'has proved effective' since it was finished in 2010.

'This investment has significantly reduced the chances of flooding in this area,' said Mr Innes. 'However, we recognise that more areas of the town are threatened by flooding during heavy storms and are working to develop effective long term solutions with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council as part of the Surface Water Management Plan.'

Firefighters helped deal with the situation on Monday, with crews removing water from a basement flat in Wellesley Road, and also attending addresses in Hawkin's Close and Craddock Avenue - where the borough council's emergency planning officer was also called.

The White Swan pub, in North Quay, is one of the properties flooded in 2006 - forced to close for four months - and landlady Karen Palmer feared a repeat on Monday.

'We live in fear that this is going to happen again,' said Karen, 43.

'It started with thunder and lightning and heavy rainfall and my husband and I were looking out of the window.

'The drains couldn't cope and we could see it bubbling up.

'We've got plastic covers to fit on all the doors and quickly put them up - the water definitely would have been into the pub without those.'

When the pub flooded in 2006 it required almost �100,000 of repairs to get it open again - including a new bar, floor and seating.

And Mrs Palmer is worried she could lose everything again if she is not at home to protect her business.

'It would only take us to be out sometime and we've lost it all,' she said. 'What a way to live.'

Experts will visit the Yarmouth borough this month as a flooding study - designed to protect homeowners - enters the detailed assessment stage.

While flash flooding hit Yarmouth this week, the project is not due to complete until the end of March 2013.

Analysis of historic flood reports and predicted flood risk has identified parts of Belton, Bradwell, Caister, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Hemsby, Hopton, Martham, Ormesby and Winterton as being vulnerable to surface water flooding.

County council-commissioned experts will visit these areas from August 15 to 17 to feed detail into a computer flood model, as part of the Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP).

Flood risk experts from Capita Symonds with URS have been employed to carry out the assessment and will meet representatives from local councils and resilience groups.

The visits will help identify vulnerable areas and target funding for defences to where it is needed.

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