Flood update: Pub in Southwold could have gone bankrupt if precautions hadn’t been taken

Tidal Surge around Suffolk's coast has caused major disruptions. Huge waves crash over sea defences in Southwold. Tidal Surge around Suffolk's coast has caused major disruptions. Huge waves crash over sea defences in Southwold.

Friday, December 6, 2013
4:56 PM

Even after the waves had subsided in picturesque Southwold this morning they were still spectacular enough to draw crowds to the seafront.

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The storm surge of Thursday night, fuelled by high winds, saw sand and shingle from the beach lifted onto the promenade by the rising water levels.

Photographs sent in to the East Anglian Daily Times show waves crashing against beach walls and rising high into the air.

And video footage shot near the pier demonstrates how ferocious the conditions were at 11am, many hours after the surge had finished.

But it wasn’t an easy place to reach from parts of Suffolk further south after the A12 was shut in Blythburgh due to flooding.

As well as water straddling the road there were reeds from the marshes strewn lowest-lying parts of the carriageway left there as the floods gradually receded.

One place particularly badly hit was the Harbour Inn which is below sea level.

Owner Nick Attfield said when he turned up this morning to check on the damage some parts of the building had up to 5ft of water in.

He hopes the clear-up operation will take no more than a week but added if they hadn’t taken precautionary measures it would have been a lot longer and may not have happened at all.

Mr Attfield, who also owns the Bell at Walberswick, said: “We flooded quite considerably but as predicted.

“We had about 5ft of water in our bottom bar, about 4ft in the kitchen and 2ft behind the bar. It was a huge amount of water.

“We have a plaque on the front of the pub which shows the height of the ‘53 flood and we’re just a few inches below it.

“There was a lot of dirty, salty, smelly water but it is exactly what was expected.

“The Environment Agency has become so good at predicting these heights so we keep a record of where each flood has come to.

“It helps us to see what needs to go and what to concentrate on.”

Mr Attfield took the decision to clear out the equipment at the pub to a location which would stay dry during the floods and he said this has probably saved the future of the business.

“If I hadn’t taken the decision at 5am yesterday morning to clear everything out I’d probably be bankrupt by now.”

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