May 25 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, March 11, 2013
A worried Tunstead resident has begged motorists to slow down as they drive through flooded sections of Market Street.
Kate Ackroyd said drivers had been taking the floods at such speed that they were creating huge waves of water which were then lapping outwards, edging closer and closer to homes.
Market Street residents spent an anxious weekend watching water pour off fields and roads towards their properties. Mrs Ackroyd said that at its worst the water had come within centimetres of entering her house.
The ground floor of a newly-converted barn home nearby was flooded and the man who lives there was understood to have been forced to move out over the weekend.
Firefighters from Wroxham were in Market Street on Saturday evening and again this morning advising residents about flooding.
“It’s still over the grass and the driveway and the ditches are full to the brim so I hope we don’t get any more because there’s nowhere for it to go,” said Mrs Ackroyd this morning.
“At one point I stood outside waving my arms like mad trying to tell people to slow down. I think some people in 4x4s think it’s fun but if they realised what it was doing to properties they would be quite shocked.”
She said she was also “livid” at the lack of help from emergency services over the weekend, with the exception of the fire brigade.
Mrs Ackroyd said she and her husband Neil had tried ringing Norfolk County Council, Anglian Water (AW), and the police: “but nobody wanted to know.”
She was especially critical that the county’s highways department had not responded, at least by providing flood warning notices, which might have slowed drivers. They were still not in place at 9am today.
Mrs Ackroyd said they had asked the police for the flood signs on Saturday morning. The police had then contacted highways and later told the Ackroyds that there were only two people working in that section of highways and they very much doubted that anything could be done.
Firefighters had been unable to pump water away from properties as the surrounding areas were so waterlogged that there had been nowhere to receive it. However, they had offered to help with moving threatened items to safety.
Residents had also feared that the AW pumping station in Tunstead had been overwhelmed and that the flood water was contaminated with sewage. They had asked AW for a tanker to pump water away from their homes but this had been refused.
An AW spokesman apologised for a possible misunderstanding between the company and residents. A tanker had been sent to Tunstead but it had targeted areas where it could be most effective - at the pumping station and nearby full ditches.
Any contamination would have been very dilute as there had been so much surface water and the Environment Agency had also visited and been satisfied that the pumps were working flat out and that AW was doing all it could, said the spokesman.
Water levels had not dropped this morning and he thought it would take the best part of a day without rain before they did.
He added: “The system is working but it is struggling because of the sheer volume of rainfall there has been.”
A response from the county council to Mrs Ackroyd’s criticisms is expected today.
A spokesman for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) said they had stopped offering sandbags two years ago as they were not particularly effective.
Responsibility for land drainage flooding, and highways flooding, lay with Norfolk County Council.
NNDC offered advice on flood prevention measures and this was also available on its website: www.northnorfolk.org