Weston-super-Mare sea defence concern after flooding

The manager of Weston-super-Mare's oldest building has questioned why flood defence barriers were not closed following high tides and strong winds.

Steve Coghlan from the Old Thatched Cottage said the seafront restaurant was flooded.

He said the newly built gate, which was opened in 2010, should have been used to protect the area from water damage.

North Somerset Council said the information it received meant that the gates did not need to be closed.

Overnight, strong winds caused the sea to come over the sea wall and onto the promenade.

The weather caused damage to the seafront, with signs and waste being washed up.

Once the high tide receded, the water drained back onto the beach within an hour.

'Passing the buck'

The council spokeswoman said closing the gates was not a decision the council took easily as it could affect people living on Knightstone Island as well as businesses along the seafront.

"It's not something we do without consequences," she said.

She added that in this circumstance, the council was not aware of any "significant issues" and added that it received its weather information from the Environment Agency and the Met Office.

But Mr Coghlan said the council was "passing the buck".

"Someone's got to take ownership. There should be an emergency number or something for people to call."

Last night, the Met Office warned that "rain will be accompanied by a strong and blustery southwesterly wind".

It said the sea would be "moderate or rough, becoming rough or very rough later".

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