Braunton 'needs more flooding solutions'
- 2 January 2013
- From the section Devon
More solutions are needed to prevent future flooding of the north Devon village of Braunton, the council and local businesses say.
Dozens of properties in Braunton were affected by flooding during the weekend before Christmas, despite the village having a new £1m flood defence scheme.
The Environment Agency said flood defences functioned but were "overwhelmed".
Rodney Cann from North Devon Council said long-term work was needed.
'Better contingency plans'
The flood defences, completed in June, were meant reduce to the likelihood of flooding from the River Caen from a one-in-20 chance of occurring in a particular year to one-in-100.
However, the main road was left under under several feet of water after heavy rain resulted in the river breaching a section of the defences.
Firefighters used pumps to clear 7,000 litres of water a minute from the roads as rain eased.
Mr Cann, the North Devon councillor responsible for environmental matters, said better contingency plans were needed in the short-term.
He said: "There was quite a large supply of sandbags available, but I believe more need to be in place and accessible to everyone.
"In the long-term, we need another look at the whole system.
"In fairness to the Environment Agency, the new works helped - but they didn't solve the problem."
The London Inn was closed after water reached the height of the bar's surface.
The pub had been refurbished only seven months previously, but the floods meant it would have to be stripped out and refurbished again, landlord Mark Ridge said.
Mr Ridge, who took over the pub in 2012, added that he was hoping to reopen, but other businesses had been told they would not.
He said: "A couple of business have been told they won't be opening again, which is a great shame.
"It's going to be a knock for Braunton."
Annette Essex, of the Top 'n' Tails Pet Shop, whose stock room was affected, said businesses were open, or trying to reopen quickly, but work was needed to dispel shoppers' concerns.
She said: "It affects trade when people think we're all closed."
The Environment Agency said it will hold a day-long seminar in the village's Braunton Parish Hall on Thursday from 12:00 GMT until 19:00 ,for people to share their experiences and see what lessons can be learned.