March 9 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Friday, February 21, 2014
Flood-hit homeowners in Norfolk and Suffolk will have to shoulder the cost of flood surveys as part of the £5,000 grant scheme heralded by the Prime Minister last week.
David Cameron released the small print of his “repair and renew” grants for additional flood resilience for homes and businesses yesterday, revealing that homeowners would be required to have a survey, with the cost coming out of their £5,000 limit.
Stuart Richards, whose Walcott home was flooded in the tidal surge in early December, said the move would see more money go into professional pockets, and not to those who need it.
And Walcott parish council chairman Pauline Porter said she was concerned that with the survey costs also included it would not leave a great deal of money.
Number 10 said the details of what the costs of a survey might be were still being worked on, but it was expected to be “industry standard”.
The grant scheme, announced by the Prime Minister, will go live on April 1 and could be available to hundreds of homes, with 116 homes and 36 businesses flooded in the hardest hit North Norfolk. Twelve homes in the Great Yarmouth were flooded.
So far the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal has handed out 47 grants in Waveney.
It will only be homes which suffered flood damage which will be eligible for the government grants.
Homes due to benefit from a planned community-level scheme to reduce the level of flood risk below “significant”, would not be eligible.
Local councils will be in charge of administering grants and commissioning the surveys of flooded properties to identify measures to improve their resilience or resistance to future floods.
The Prime Minister is set to hold talks with insurers, surveyors and councils to “explore how best to align the scheme with the insurance assessment and loss adjuster process”.
Mr Richards said: ”The people who already have plenty of money will get even more. It is hardly worth bothering with. What we are doing is putting more money into professional people’s pockets. All they are doing is taking money and putting it where it is not needed.
Mrs Porter added: “Obviously they don’t want people spending this money randomly and it has to be something of benefit, but doing these surveys is going to vary from house to house.
She said: “Quite honestly we don’t need a survey to find out how to fix our flood boards. There are a lot of products on the market. But it is better than nothing. I understand they have got to manage and make sure that people manage it well.”
North Norfolk district council leader Tom Fitzpatrick said: “I am pleased that the schemes are being back-dated to help homes and businesses in North Norfolk and people affected by the surge back in December. That is a positive step.”
But he said that they were still waiting for details of how the surveys would be carried out. “We need some clarification,” he added.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who put forward the idea for a grant for homes and businesses after speaking to Walcott residents, said it was the first he had heard of it.
“Costs of surveys should be kept to a minimum. If it’s £100 out of £5,000 it wouldn’t be too damaging. The other critical question is what the costs of the measures to better protect property would be.
“Quite often you can have quite simple measures which can make a massive difference. I want to ensure that the money is spent to properly protect a property from flooding.”