January 2017 saw the biggest storm surge to hit the east coast of England since the devastating floods in December 2013. From Scarborough and Whitby in the north to East Anglia and the Thames Estuary in the south, high winds and tides battered our coastlines. It led to the evacuation of 5,000 homes in Great Yarmouth, 1,800 residents in Suffolk and many more in Jaywick, Essex.
It wasn’t all bad news though - in East Anglia, we were thrilled to hear that our barrier installation at Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club did its job and protected their building from flooding. Paul King, who is Manager of the clubhouse, told us how the water had reached the doors of their club – but fortunately our barriers held it back to avoid any damage.
“High tide was at 7:28pm. I erected the flood boards by mid-morning to be ready. About 20 members of the club came along. At the moment, we are only open on Sundays, but we opened up the clubhouse so they could watch the spectacle. I found out later that the surge predicted to coincide with the high tide happened about three hours later. We had water at the doors and the barriers stopped any water getting in. Even a few inches would have been a mess.”
The storm surge happened just eight months after the sailing club opened their newly rebuilt clubhouse in May 2016. The new building replaced the old clubhouse that had come to the end of its life after being severely damaged in the December 2013 tidal surge. It has been specially designed with flooding in mind – so the clubhouse, kitchens and toilets are now all situated on the first floor. The ground floor has the changing rooms, boat and equipment stores, disabled toilet and lift are all situated on the ground floor.
Paul went on to tell us:
“The lift mechanism was protected as water would have gotten in. All we had to clean up was reed and a bit of debris – not bad at all. We are very happy!”Avril Ivin Cadburys, Bournville