Government allocates £7 million for West Norfolk flood defence works, though £16 million more is still needed

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Ministers have pledged 
£7 million for flood defence schemes in West Norfolk, but local groups will have to raise £16 million themselves.

The cash was confirmed in Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement on Wednesday, ahead of today’s first anniversary of the tidal surge that battered the borough’s coast.

Plaques marking the height the waters reached a year ago will be unveiled at a ceremony in Lynn today, where the progress made on a £1.2 million project to refurbish the town’s flood barriers will also be highlighted.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “We haven’t been forgotten. It’s very positive news.”

A total of 12 projects across the borough are set to receive shares in a £2.3 billion programme of flood defence works which is expected to run until 2021.

Among them is the Wash East Coast Management Strategy for maintaining defences along the coast between Wolferton Creek and Hunstanton, which was approved by West Norfolk Council’s cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday.

Although it is estimated that work in the area, such as the annual recharging of the shingle banks at Snettisham, will cost just over £5 million to complete, around £3.5 million will have to be raised locally on top of the government’s contribution.

Earlier this year, landowners and caravan park operators began the process of forming a community interest company to co-ordinate fundraising.

West Norfolk Council 
deputy leader, Brian Long, told the meeting the scheme was “trailblazing”.

He said: “I think it is a model that is being looked at nationally to deliver schemes that wouldn’t normally qualify for any funding.”

Mr Bellingham added that the funding announcement would give the group the security it needs to secure the remaining money.

Other projects included in the list of beneficiaries include a £12.3 million flood risk management programme in the area around Tilney-cum-Islington, which is set to receive around £1.2 million from the government, and £1.45 million towards repairs to the Lynn fisher fleet flood gates. Some of the works are already being undertaken.

Elsewhere, a £1.5 million project to replace a 1950s pumping station at Stow Fen, near Stow Bridge, has been awarded £600,000, while a £350,000 flood alleviation project in South Creake is now set to go ahead after it was listed to be fully funded without community contributions.

Figures from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) suggest around 4,000 homes across the borough will benefit from improved protection if all the schemes are completed.

Meanwhile, sluices and pumping stations at four sites along the River Nene, north of Sutton Bridge, have been allocated a further £470,000, though a similar amount will also have to be raised locally.