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Waldringfield: Flood defence boost for storm surge hit village

PUBLISHED: 09:15 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:20 01 August 2014

Waldringfield tidal flood

Waldringfield tidal flood

A Government grant of £633,000 has been set aside to improve flood defences in a riverside Suffolk village.

Money made available from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) will help pay for a system of flood defences at Waldringfield on the River Deben.

Homes, businesses and farms were inundated when low pressure met high tides to swell water levels along the estuary in December.

Several homeowners had already been in talks with The Deben Estuary Partnership (DEP), the Environment Agency (EA) and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB about defending their properties from flooding.

Jon Wilkins a retired chartered engineer and chairman of the village’s flood action group, said: “We were determined that this wouldn’t happen again and knew that whatever help we received we’d need to do something for ourselves.”

Karen Thomas, senior coastal advisor for the EA, which supported the project, said: “The news about the CCF is fantastic and a credit to the effort put in by the whole community.”

Waldringfield is one of 10 storm-hit coastal locations to receive a share of £8.5million in available grants, managed in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund.

The project, being used by the EA as a pilot scheme, is expected to create and safeguard 65 jobs, while increasing visitor numbers and tourism income.

The action group’s Clive Underdown said: “This money will enable us to get phase one of our plans under way with some support for phase two. But we still have more fundraising to do to put all of our plans in place.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said she was delighted by news of the grant. She added: “Last December’s tidal surge hit this part of the village badly affecting residents and businesses. I’m glad the project now has the green light and can be completed in time for this winter.

“My thanks go to Clive Underdown and the team from Waldringfield who put the bid together as well as great support from the Environment Agency.”

Neil Winship, Waldringfield’s emergency planning officer and flood warden liaison, said he expected pressure on public amenities like footpaths to increase with footfall over time, but that the latest funding announcement should be “a great cause for celebration.”

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