Woodbridge: Riverside properties flooded by tidal surge

Woodbridge riverside after the tidal surge

Woodbridge riverside after the tidal surge - Credit: Tom Potter

Low pressure combined with high tides to swell water levels and flood properties in riverside towns and villages across the region.

In Woodbridge, the Deben rose higher than levels recorded in 1953, but the damage was less widespread thanks to improved flood defences.

Almost two feet of water swamped the town’s historic Tide Mill before draining away to leave the ground floor sodden.

Tide Mill trustee, Bob Spillett said: “We put a lot of things on benches in preparation. We decided not to do anything more until the next surge passes. Most of the electrics survived but one or two are damaged.

“I’ve seen the water come through the floorboards in about 2004 but never anything like this.”

Patrick Hockley’s Waterfront Cafe suffered an estimated £100,000 worth of damage and could be closed until April. He said: “The water level was just beneath the top of the till. When we opened it up, it was full of water.

“We’ll be closed for the foreseeable future. The oak floors will have to come out and the Suffolk red brick will have to dry - then there’s all the equipment, like the dishwasher and fridges.

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“Everyone has pulled together

Patti Mulcahy, mayor of Woodbridge, said that although the water level was higher than 1953, the town had not been quite as badly affected as other parts of the county, and that investment in flood defences over the years had proved to be effective.

Further north, Orford Quay escaped the worst of the destruction. Firefighters were on hand to drain water away from the grounds of riverside cottage Quay View, while other flooding was caused by leaks through holes in the village’s man-made sea defences, probably caused by burrowing wildlife.

The village hall was opened on Thursday night, with some people staying until 2.30am before returning to their homes.

Harbourmaster Philip Attwood said: “We got away with it mainly, except that the sea wall leaked near the sailing club, where the water came within about an inch of overtopping.

“If a big strong wind comes from the east, the Ness usually protects us.”

Amanda Bettinson, Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership (AOEP) secretary, said: “Luckily high tide didn’t come at exactly the same time as the surge but we can’t relax until after the weekend. We don’t know how much the banks have already been weakened.”