Devastating flood damage along Hunstanton seafront could have been avoided if West Norfolk Council had followed an Environment Agency move to improve sea defences, it has been claimed.
Hunstanton town councillor John Maiden called on the authority to raise the height of the seawall in front of the badly-hit Sea Life Sanctuary and amusement park when the Environment Agency raised its defences to the south of the park and out towards Heacham several years ago.
The council hit back, saying an increase in height would not have made much difference to the outcome of the tidal surge last Thursday, but said options to improve sea defences in future are now being assessed.
Mr Maiden said: “I hate to say it, but I told them the floods would happen some time ago.
“When the Environment Agency raised part of the wall some years ago, I asked the borough council if it would carry the defence on and raise its part, but I was told they didn’t want to go to the expense.
“If that wall had been half-a-metre higher, the damage would not have been so bad. It’s as simple as that.”
But a spokesman for West Norfolk Council said: “The defences at Hunstanton were not put in at the same time. The Environment Agency defences, which were put in more recently, allow for on-going increases in sea level due to climate change, which is why they are higher. However, as things stand, they all offer the same adequate level of flood protection.
“Given the size of last week’s tidal surge and the height of the waves, it is not believed that an increase in the height of the splash wall would have made much difference to the outcome.
“We recently carried out a condition survey which recommended maintenance works to existing structures. The Wash East Coastal Management Strategy is currently considering options for the longer-tem approach to the promenade, sea wall and splash walls.
Our focus at the moment is on gathering information on the impact of the tidal surge to aid the clean up and recovery effort and to assess options for the future.”