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VIDEO: Damage in Seaton and Looe as MP's visit storm hit South East Cornwall

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: January 05, 2014

By Mike Smallcombe

  • The damaged cafe on Seaton beach after the storm .

  • Sheryll discusses flooding issues with Dan in Looe.

  • Sheryll and Dan listen to the experience of one local Looe resident

  • Sheryll at the damaged sea wall in Seaton.

Comments (9)

SOUTH East Cornwall has taken a battering - with the worst storm in 20 years taking its toll.

MP Sheryll Murray welcomed Dan Rogerson MP to Looe yesterday to discuss flooding issues after recent high tides.

Mrs Murray also visited nearby Seaton, where she witnessed a collapsed wall and flooded cafe.

SEATON

A popular village café in Seaton felt the full force of the latest storm on Friday night.

The café is situated right on the shoreline, and part of the building now lies in tatters after the ocean swept through it in the early hours of Saturday.

Windows are smashed, some with the glass completely out of their frames so just shards remain.

The café’s extension, at the far end of the beach, took the brunt of the damage with large wooden beams strewn around in splinters and a carpet of sand lining the floor.

A folorn-looking Christmas tree lies collapsed inside the building, which regularly hosts parties and wedding receptions.

The full extent of the damage is not yet known, but the sandbags that are piled up around the site suggest there may be more trouble ahead.

A large section of wall further down the beach cracked apart overnight, and on Saturday afternoon visitors and residents were being prevented from accessing the beach from the road.

Local residents helped to mop away water in the café and Mrs Murray praised the community spirit in the village.

“I was surprised to see this fairly new sea defence collapse and will be calling to see what foundations were used,” she said.

“I felt terribly sorry for the cafe but was impressed by the amount of local people helping out this important local business.

“It was heartening to see a local community work together in this way – something I have seen during other flooding incidents which makes me so proud of the people I represent.”

Here is a video of the damage on Seaton Beach:

LOOE

Severe floods hit Looe on Thursday night, with less serious flooding Friday night and yesterday morning.

On Friday morning shopkeepers on Fore Street reported up to four inches of water throughout their premises.

Yesterday Sheryll Murray MP and Dan Rogerson MP visited Looe where the pair were also joined by experts from the Environment Agency to look at options and defences put in place by local people.

As well as being the MP for North Cornwall, Mr Rogerson is also Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management.

Mrs Murray said: "I am always pleased when a member of the Government can come to South East Cornwall to see for themselves the damage that the flooding can do.

"I was keen to raise a number of issues with the Minister including the importance of the Flood Re Insurance as outlined in the Water Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

“I sat on the Committee which went through this bill line by line and was keen to emphasise to the Minister the practical aspects of this bill for local people.

"It was also useful to be able to speak with the representatives of the Environment Agency and discuss some of the incidents which had happened recently in South East Cornwall."

MORE TO COME

The Environment Agency has re-issued flood alerts for most areas of Cornwall in anticipation of today's rain.

The Met Office has put out a yellow warning, warning up to 30mm could fall in some places.

This additional rainfall, following the recent wet weather, means that the public should be aware of an increased risk of both surface water and river flooding as well as disruption to transport.

The Met Office said the recent spate of storms was the worst in about 20 years and had been caused by a powerful jet stream pushing a series of Atlantic depressions towards the British Isles.

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9 comments

  • hydrangea  |  January 18 2014, 12:06AM

    Oh what a shame for the café! Sympathy for the outside seating area being damaged should surely be re-evaluated given none of it was lawful having never received Planning Permission or Building Regs. Perhaps there is now a chance that Cornwall Council Planning could look at this ever increasing eyesore that has evolved over several years with no respect of laws that other individuals honestly comply with.

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  • charliebravo  |  January 05 2014, 11:05AM

    Thanks, Trumpetylump for that thoughtful contribution. However, before we go spending money we ought to establish some facts. I've been told that, when Looe has flooded in the past, the water has arrived in Fore Street via the surface water drains. In other words the water in the harbour is higher that Fore street and water flows back along the underground drainage pipes to find its own level in the town. You would think that it would be an easy thing to fix by putting well-made and well-maintained tidal flaps on the surface water outfalls in the harbour. As for the wall that collapsed in Seaton, I don't think that was ever intended as a flood wall - it was put there when the old Caradon Council formalised/commercialised the parking arrangements at the beach, probably to stop the public driving onto the beach. The changes to the route of the river over the last year have swept away several hundred thousand tonnes of sand and shingle that provided some protection for the wall and hence it has collapsed. I don't think the re-routing of the river was foreseeable - it happened once in the 1930's but not within living memory. If it had been built as a sea defence wall with sheet piling and concreted piled foundations, Sherryl Murray would have been calling for an enquiry as to why a 60 yards of 3 foot high wall cost the tax-payers so much. You get what you pay for in this life. CVB

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  • TWINSCREW  |  January 05 2014, 10:40AM

    trumpetylump, Excellent post.

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  • trumpetylump  |  January 04 2014, 9:15PM

    The town of Looe has been subjected to the tides for years, but as sea levels rise and the extent of the flooding gets worse there is no real reason why the traders and residents have to be content with living with flood boards and sand bags for the foreseeable future. There are solutions which are feasible and affordable. The flooding is caused by the surge of waves at high tide, when driven by wind and low pressure causing over topping of the harbour walls, the walls are obviously too low, so raise the harbour walls. The argument to counter this is the inconvenience of access to boats for the towns fishermen, of which there are fewer and fewer. Ok so have gates built into the walls which could be open unless the threat is high, then at that point, could be closed. Another way to quell the surge is to build an outer harbour which would soften the waves caused by surge, this could have an economic benefit and create visitor moorings and allow the fishing fleet to offload their catch at any time of the tide, what an economic bonus. Another alternative would be to introduce surge gates, used only in times of peril located near the harbour entrance, at Banjo Pier, expensive but with adjustment of the beach walls and gates at the old life boat access is eminently achievable. It has been achieved at Polperro! There are arguments for and against everything suggested to mitigate against flooding, spoiling the look of the town, offending the fishermen by making it slightly more difficult to access their boats, the expense of an outer harbour, and narrowing the footpaths adjacent to the harbour. Well if we don't get over the self interest issues, and accommodate the physical inconveniences, the town will continue into a decline perpetrated by inertia. The thought of the town only being recognised on the news for being a town that floods, with inhabitants who just put up with it because they always have had to, leaves a lasting impression of a town that has no ambition to look forward and improve its lot and combat the adversity of coastal flooding. Pull your socks up and make a choice to drive for future prosperity and a life not subjected to the threat of the sea, other towns have achieved a balance so let's get together and live with a little less deference to our seas.

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