'It's a waiting game now' - Pub braces for flooding as high tides set to hit Suffolk coast
PUBLISHED: 08:43 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 08 January 2019
(C)James Bass 2017
A Southwold pub has pulled out all the stops to protect itself as spring tides are expected to threaten parts of the Suffolk coastline.
Large parts of the Suffolk coast are on high alert today as the Environment Agency has warned high tides could put homes and businesses at risk.
Flood warnings have been issued for Bawdsey Quay and Felixstowe Ferry between 11am and 3pm, and the Southwold coastline between 8.45am and 1.45pm as Tuesday’s tides are set to be higher than usual.
Less serious ‘flood alerts’ are also in place along other parts of the coast.
The Harbour Inn, just feet from the River Blyth in Southwold, has seen its bar plunged underwater countless times before – and now staff are back to clearing the decks following a fresh warning from the Environment Agency.
General manager Mark Cooper said the majority of the pub’s furniture and other equipment had been moved to higher ground, with sandbags and metal flood gates at the ready – but there is still an element of unease as staff brace for high tides.
“There’s only so much we can stop,” Mr Cooper said.
“We will remain open. Myself and a couple of members of staff will be in a couple of hours earlier than first planned in order to keep an eye on it.”
Mr Cooper said an articulated lorry from owner Adnams had already been to collect the pub’s refrigerators and other electrical equipment, while staff had moved other items out of harm’s way.
Meanwhile, extra care has been taken to protect the front of the building – with sandbags prepared to pile up as the tides rise.
All that remains exposed in the lower part of the building is the wooden furniture, which Mr Cooper said should be easy to wipe down should the water start to rise in the bottom bar.
While he wasn’t too concerned by the levels predicted by the Environment Agency, Mr Cooper said the team have to “treat all the warnings with the same respect”.
He added: “We are all a bit anxious – because do we make that call or do we not?”
“It’s just a waiting game now.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed it has been monitoring conditions throughout East Anglia and will be closing all floodgates and other structures, as well as checking its defences throughout the risk period.
He added: “People can keep themselves safe by not entering flood water and by avoiding beaches and promenades at times of high tide.
“If you live in an area at risk of flooding then sign up for our free flood warning service and if you receive a flood alert or warning then listen to the information and advice and take precautions to keep yourself safe.”