Tidal surge: Sutton Bridge was 2ins away from disaster

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Community leaders in Sutton Bridge have called for the village’s sea defences to be raised in the wake of December’s tidal surge.

A 10ft tidal surge – the worst in 60 years – came up the River Nene on December 5, the same night that much of the West Norfolk coast was also battered by severe storms.

Now, members of the village’s parish council have backed a call to lobby the Environment Agency for work to be carried out to raise the defences.

Vice-chairman Michael Booth said: “We were two inches from disaster.”

Riverbanks held firm, but water was inches from the top and river water leaked through a drainage valve in West Bank and cascaded down to Lime Street, where sandbags were put out to protect homes from flooding.

Parish council chairman John Grimwood said: “I think lessons need to be learned from that very near miss.”

And Chris Brewis said land on the east coast is dropping by 3mm a year and all of the village sea defences need raising, not just the West Bank.

Meanwhile, parish council members have also expressed concern about the number of sightseers who turned out to watch the surge and said there should be powers to close the roads to stop sightseers’ cars from hindering any emergency response.