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‘It’s better than flooding’ - Village blasted by sand in high winds counts clean up cost

PUBLISHED: 17:37 26 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:04 26 September 2020

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

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People in a village that was blasted by sand in high winds are facing a long clean up - but say flooding would be worse.

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail NicholsonPeople in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

After being flooded three times before in storms, volunteers and residents in Walcott and Bacton have become used to picking up the pieces.

They woke up on Saturday, September 26 to find piles of sand covering their driveways and cars after Norfolk was hit by 70mph winds and heavy rain.

But while the impact of the sandstorm is yet to be calculated, residents have already insisted it is better than finding their homes flooded.

Walcott, Bacton and Happisburgh Flood Support and Help Group (W.B.H), a team of volunteers formed in response to severe flooding in December 2013, have been helping out people whose homes and vehicles have been damaged by the sand.

Founder of the group, Buddy Bell, said: “The first thing I did was post in the group to let people know what was happening and to be careful.

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail NicholsonPeople in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

“Because lots of the properties are second homes, we also offer to check on people’s homes and let them know if they are damaged instead of them travelling all the way here.

“Now we’re looking forwards to the clean up and we will do everything we can to help.”

After experiencing flooding in 2013, 2017 and 2019, the founder said he was surprised it didn’t happen again.

He said: “I would choose sand over flooding any day. Sand can be brushed away. People’s homes, possessions and sewerage can not.”

SandSand

Plant machinery from J. Murphy and Sons, who work at Bacton Gas Terminal, helped move large sand piles from outside homes, back to the beach.

A couple who have lived in the village for 30 years said: “The sandscaping project is the reason why this has happened but I can’t help but think what would have happened if the extra sand wasn’t there.

“It’s easier to remove sand. I know that people’s cars may still be damaged but at least it’s not the inside of homes.”

About 1.8m cubic metres of sand was pumped onto the beach in front of the Bacton Gas Terminal and the villages of Bacton and Walcott in 2019 as part of a new Sandscaping Project.

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail NicholsonPeople in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

The idea for the project originated following the devastation caused by the 2013 tidal storm surge, when hundreds of homes were flooded.

People in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail NicholsonPeople in Walcott and Bacton woke up on Saturday morning to piles of sand covering their whole village. Picture:Abigail Nicholson

A blanket sand covered much of Walcott seafront after high winds. Credit: Karen BethellA blanket sand covered much of Walcott seafront after high winds. Credit: Karen Bethell

Sand covers the village of Walcott after high winds. Credit: Karen Bethell.Sand covers the village of Walcott after high winds. Credit: Karen Bethell.

Sand washed over Coast Road, covering cars and buildings in its path.Sand washed over Coast Road, covering cars and buildings in its path.

Sand was two feet deep in places after Friday evening's stormy weather. Credit: Karen BethellSand was two feet deep in places after Friday evening's stormy weather. Credit: Karen Bethell


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