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VIDEO: Tweedmouth flooding plans

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Measures will be taken as soon as possible to help alleviate the threat of flooding in the West End area of Tweedmouth.

The pledge was made by Northumberland County Council at a public meeting in Tweedmouth Bowling Club on Tuesday night.

Several homes were flooded on December 5-6 last year when Britain’s east coast was hit by the biggest storm surge in 60 years.

However, it was drainage issues rather than the River Tweed bursting its banks which caused problems for West End residents.

It is thought the high tide putting pressure on the flap valves in the outfall pipes prevented rain water draining away in the normal way.

Trevor Dixon, the council’s flood and coastal erosion risk manager, said: “Due to the tidal surge water was coming up from drains, manholes and gullies.

“As soon as the river levels drop we will survey the outlet pipes into the river and see if the flap valves need to be replaced. That would be quite a simple solution.”

It is also planned to install a moveable steel flood barrier on the slipway next to the Queen’s Gardens should river levels be a threat.

It will be further down the slipway than the temporary structure in place at the moment which has attracted criticism from local residents because of the damage it caused to the gates.

Andy Rutherford, head of highways and neighbourhood services, said: “I can only apologise for the work that’s been done to the gates which is simply not acceptable.”

Around 15 residents attended the meeting and some expressed concern at the council’s response to the December 5-6 flood threat.

Sandbags were not delivered until after the water had entered some properties and some residents who phoned to ask for them were told there were none.

“That wasn’t true so there appears to have been some miscommunication,” said Mr Rutherford.

He accepted that the council could learn lessons from the flood.

“The tide was a lot higher than had been forecast even though we were trying to be as vigilant as we could,” he admitted. “We were facing something that has not happened around here for a long time but lessons have been learnt and we will see what we can do in the way of short-term measures to improve protection.”

But Mr Dixon ruled out the possibility of a major flood alleviation scheme.

“Such an investment would need to come from a central government grant which is unlikely given that this tidal surge only resulted in four or five properties being flooded,” he said.

However, home owners fear it could happen again if sea levels rise as predicted.

A West End resident said: “I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything like it was on December 5. But the river has also been really high on several occasions since and if it bursts its banks it’s in my house straightaway.”

Lib Dem Julie Pörksen said: “I was impressed that the council have promised action on both fixing the flaps and finding a long-term solution for the slipway.”

 

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