One year on from tidal surge and Waldringfield on the verge of being watertight

Waldringfield after the 2013 floods.

Waldringfield after the 2013 floods. - Credit: Archant

A determination never to see their homes flood again has seen a community-led effort pull together £1million in a year for a scheme to protect a Suffolk village.

There had been talk for a decade of the need for improved river defences at Waldringfield, but never the money available for the work.

Last year’s tidal surge saw 14 homes flooded when the Deben burst its banks, and residents knew they had to step up their efforts to secure a solution before the next major weather incident put them at risk again.

Now, work is well under way on the first phase of the scheme, a sheet-piled wall in front of homes and protection for the boatyard.

Jon Wilkins, a retired chartered engineer and chairman of the village’s flood action group, said everyone had been determined it wouldn’t happen again but knew they would have to take action themselves to gain help.

He said: “You have to pinch yourself really – last year we were flooded and by the end of December we should be watertight and never flood again, at least in our lifetimes.”

The group managed to secure around £600,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, £250,000 from the Environment Agency, and has raised £200,000 itself to pay for the work.

The second phase to raise and strengthen the existing river bank over around one kilometre in total should be complete by this time next year.

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The group worked with the Deben Estuary Partnership, the Environment Agency (EA), Suffolk Coastal and Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, MP Therese Coffey and district councillor Veronica Falconer on the project.

Mr Wilkins said: “Once we realised how vulnerable most people’s homes were, we pulled everyone together and started on the project.”