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Cash pay out for storm surge

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:28 03 July 2010

Two Norfolk councils will get thousands of pounds from the government to pay for some of the damage done during a severe storm last November.

Stretches of north and east Norfolk suffered the brunt of the region's biggest storm surge for years on November 9.

Two Norfolk councils will get thousands of pounds from the government to pay for some of the damage done during a severe storm last November.

Stretches of north and east Norfolk suffered the brunt of the region's biggest storm surge for years on November 9.

The surge stopped perilously short of clearing sea defences and causing catastrophic flooding, but left a legacy of damaged sea walls and wrecked beach huts.

Yarmouth Borough Council and North Norfolk District Council spent tens of thousands of pounds on emergency repairs and put in claims to the government for compensation under the Bellwin scheme.

Yesterday local government minister John Healey said the two councils would be entitled to money under the scheme which provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities.

Seb Duncan, the borough council's treasurer, said the council would be getting about £20,000.

He said officers had been forced to spend £53,000 on repairs, but the scheme only paid out 85pc of costs above a threshold, which was calculated on the basis of the authority's annual budget. The borough's threshold was £28,704.

North Norfolk spent £40,520 on repairs. Its threshold of £27,484 means the compensation figure is £11,080.

Peter Moore, the council's cabinet member for resources, said the council had been able to get on with the necessary repairs “in the knowledge that we would get a big chunk of the costs back”.

He said; “We obviously want to get as much as possible, every penny we can, because whatever money we don't get will have an impact on the next budget.”

Mr Healey said: “November saw some of the worst storms and sea surges in East Anglia for many years. I visited the area to see first hand how the local authorities were protecting their communities from this threat. I was impressed with their efforts and how effectively emergency plans were implemented.

“But this comes at a cost. So today I can confirm that the local authorities in Yarmouth and North Norfolk will be able to claim back some of the costs they incurred.

“I am satisfied that financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme is justified to cover costs incurred and a scheme will be established under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.”

Schools and businesses were closed and thousands of people evacuated from their homes in the Yarmouth area amid fears that the storm surge would overtop the coastal defences.

In north Norfolk, the wind-driven seas left a trail of damage in their wake, smashing down walls of houses at Walcott, splintering decking on Cromer pier and reducing scores of beach huts to matchwood.

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