Major flood defence project 'underpins' town's future

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations.

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

A multi-million-pound scheme of works to reduce the risk of flooding to hundreds of homes and businesses in a coastal town has taken significant steps forward.

With the Government confirming a £43m investment to deliver the Lowestoft Flood Defence Project in July last year, a "new economic dawn for our town, our people and businesses” was heralded by East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant.

Before and after photos showing the glass floodwall that will be built at the South Pier and Yacht Club.

Before and after photos showing the glass floodwall that will be built at the South Pier and Yacht Club. Picture: East Suffolk Council - Credit: East Suffolk Council

It will see a tidal flood barrier built in Lowestoft’s outer harbour, along with tidal flood walls to the north and south of the barrier, to protect hundreds of homes, businesses and key infrastructure in the town from flooding.

The Jack-up rig in position in Lowestoft.

The Jack-up rig in position in Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Council - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Over the past month riverbed investigations have taken place after two large pieces of drilling equipment arrived at Lowestoft harbour.

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations.

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

A jack up barge has been drilling up to 40m deep test holes into the riverbed at the harbour entrance, east of the bascule bridge, and in the Trawl Dock while a second shore based drilling rig has been set up on the quayside for further investigations.

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations.

The rig at Lowestoft as drilling equipment continues as part of the riverbed investigations. Picture: Duncan Boggis - Credit: Duncan Boggis

These works have been carried out to provide information on the ground structure, to help design the foundations of the tidal barrier.

The Jack-up moving through the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft.

The Jack-up moving through the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Council - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Meanwhile, works on a localised flood defence scheme have been taking place since August last year, around Kirkley Stream in the area of Velda Close and Aldwyck Way in Lowestoft.

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This scheme is being carried out as part of the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project (FRMP) to manage 'fluvial flood risk' in the town.

Homes on Aldwyck Way, Lowestoft which have been seriously flooded.Picture: James Bass

Homes on Aldwyck Way, Lowestoft were seriously flooded in 2015. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

In 2015 and 2019 heavy rainfall flooded numerous homes as considerable damage was caused.

Flooding on Velda Close in Lowestoft during the torrential rain in October 2019. Picture: Michael Ho

Flooding on Velda Close in Lowestoft during the torrential rain in October 2019. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

Now, a sheet piled flood wall is being built for about 300m alongside Kirkley Stream and downstream of the Bloodmoor Road roundabout to reduce the risk of flooding, while a new pumping station will also be built.

Works on a localised flood defence scheme alongside Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft is progressing well. Picture: Mick Howes

Works on a localised flood defence scheme alongside Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft is progressing well. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

Work is progressing at the Kirkley Stream flood wall and pumping station, which is due to be completed by the summer this year.

Works on a localised flood defence scheme alongside Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft is progressing well. Picture: Mick Howes

Works on a localised flood defence scheme alongside Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft is progressing well. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

The Lowestoft FRMP was established after the December 2013 tidal surge to develop a way forward "to reduce the risk of flooding from the sea, rivers and from extreme rainfall."

Notleys in Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013

Notleys in Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

In December 2013 the “devastating” storm surge caused havoc along the east coast – with Lowestoft one of the worst-affected communities.

Lings Honda in Horn Hill, Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013

Lings Honda in Horn Hill, Lowestoft during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

Back then, 158 residential and 233 commercial properties were flooded in the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad area while tidal flooding resulted in the closure of key transportation links.

The Lady of the Lake in Oulton Broad during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013

The Lady of the Lake pub in Oulton Broad during the tidal surge of December 5, 2013. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

With the Lowestoft FRMP representing a major capital investment for the town of around £67m, the target date for completion is 2025.

A spokesman said: "When finished, the project will support the economic growth and regeneration of Lowestoft and reduce the risk of flooding to over 1,500 homes and 800 businesses."

The area at risk of tidal flooding encompasses the Outer Harbour entrance through Lake Lothing to the A1117 Bridge Road crossing and Mutford Lock, which forms the boundary with Oulton Broad.

The spokesman added: "Construction on the river and surface water phases of the project are already in progress.

"Construction of the tidal flood walls begins in early Spring 2021."

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie, said it would allow the s

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management and chair of the Project Board, said: “The Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project underpins the future of Lowestoft.

"Economic development in Lowestoft has been held back by the flood risk in the town.

The Jack-up getting into position in the Trawl Dock at Lowestoft.

The Jack-up getting into position in the Trawl Dock at Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Council - Credit: East Suffolk Council

"Once completed homes, businesses and people will have vital protection, significantly reducing the risk of flooding, allowing for development and regeneration in the town.

“I look forward to seeing the project progress over the next few years, first with the construction of the tidal flood walls and then the tidal barrier.

The Jack-up moving towards the bridge at Lowestoft.

The Jack-up moving towards the bridge at Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Council - Credit: East Suffolk Council

"I am pleased the project has taken a step forward with the Marine Ground Investigation works for the tidal barrier currently taking place in the harbour entrance, the results of which will inform the design of the foundations of the tidal barrier."


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