Family homes 'destroyed' after Christmas Eve floods

Flooding on Beighton Road in Acle on Christmas Eve, 2020.

Flooding on Beighton Road in Acle on Christmas Eve, 2020. - Credit: Submitted

Homes were damaged and families uprooted only two days before Christmas when floods hit a residential road for the third time in less than five years.

Heavy rains inundated Beighton Road in Acle on Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning with water rushing from a field opposite the houses and reportedly flowing into at least three properties.

Beighton Road Acle flood

Flooding on Beighton Road in Acle, Christmas Eve, 2020. - Credit: KIrsty Marie Richardson

By Thursday afternoon, a surveyor working for Clarion Housing, which owns the development, was on site to assess the damage.

After two flooding incidents in 2016, Clarion provided additional drainage and flood defence doors - but residents have said the problem is ongoing.

Kirsty Marie Richardson

KIrsty Marie Richardson, 33, who lives on Beighton Road in Acle, is frustrated the area has been flooded for the third time in less than five years. - Credit: Kirsty Marie Richardson

Kirsty Marie Richardson, 33, who lives with her five children on the road, was "absolutely shattered" on Thursday morning.

She had been up until 5am, dealing with the flood, while two fire engines worked through the night, pumping away the water from 10pm until 8am.

Ms Richardson said some water had entered the front and back of her house, causing "slight" damage, but that other homes had suffered more, with at least three families having to find alternative accommodation.

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When she saw that "things were getting bad", she went round to her neighbours, saying that the flood doors would have to be put up, she said.

But Ms Richardson was frustrated. "It's not the first time it has happened. This should have been prevented. This isn't a first time problem. It's re-occuring and nothing is making it better," she said.

"We're getting angry. They [Clarion] put in flood defences to stop this happening but we're still suffering in the long run."   

flood drain outside house

Clarion Housing added additional drainage to houses on Beighton Road after flooding during summer 2016. - Credit: Nikki Slaytor

A Clarion spokesperson said the drains "provide very robust protection against flooding".

"The ditch is clear and running well - our measures are working as they should.

"The flooding has in fact been due to water rushing across the field and through a gate at the top of the road and then along the road, a route that unfortunately is outside of our control,” the spokesperson said.

Nikki Slaytor, 46, who has lived on Beighton Road for almost six years, said: "It was an eventful evening.

"Water was like a river flowing off the field and the ditches were absolutely full. The draining is diabolical. It's an ongoing problem. They knew when they built these houses it was a flooding risk, but the houses have been built too low."

Beighton Road Acle map

Water rushed from the field and flooded Beighton Road in Acle on December 23 and 24. - Credit: Google Maps

The water flowed within two feet of Ms Slaytor's front door. "I have been incredibly lucky," she said.

"Today is clean-up day. It's not exactly what you need. But we're a good little community, we rally around, and the community of Acle has been absolutely amazing.

"Something has got to be done. You just can't live like this. Everytime there is heavy rain, you just get petrified," she added.

MORE: Heavy rain and flash flooding leaves parts of Norfolk underwater

Lana Hempsall, Broadland District Councillor for Acle ward, said her "heart went out" to the residents.

"It's just the worst possible time. People have got enough on their plate with all the restrictions we've been living with the last eight months."

She added: "It felt like such a win when the houses were built because they replaced dilapidated bungalows with beautiful modern homes, so the fact they have this problem, I find it heart breaking, because the intention of the council and Clarion was to build something really beautiful for people who can't afford their own homes."

Beighton Road flooding

An image of when Beighton Road was flooded in June, 2016. - Credit: Nikki Slaytor

The road previously suffered from flooding in June and July, 2016.

The nearby Beighton slip road onto the A47 has also been subject to persistent inundation, with Norfolk County Council pointing the finger at several years of vegetation growth having exacerbated the drainage issue.

Ms Richardson said: "I have five children. They were all terrified last night, because this isn't the first time. They were panicking and anxious and unsettled going to sleep.

"It's just not ideal is it," she added.