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'We have had bits of toilet paper washed all over our garden' - neighbours call for action on flooding risk

PUBLISHED: 16:42 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 23:13 07 October 2019

Sheringham firefighters pumping water from outside homes at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday.
Photo: DENISE O'CALLAGHAN

Sheringham firefighters pumping water from outside homes at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday. Photo: DENISE O'CALLAGHAN

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A group of Cromer neighbours hit by flooding at the weekend say only the fast actions of firefighters prevented foul-smelling water from invading their homes.

From left: Neighbours Michael White, Sean Sidell, Pat Goodwin and Nicky Sidell with storm boards and sandbags given to them by Victory Housing Trust to protect their homes from flooding.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFrom left: Neighbours Michael White, Sean Sidell, Pat Goodwin and Nicky Sidell with storm boards and sandbags given to them by Victory Housing Trust to protect their homes from flooding. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Around 10 Victory Housing Trust tenants, who live in a cul-de-sac on the Brownshill estate, off Roughton Road, were horrified to see rain washing down the road towards their homes on Sunday.

Sheringham firefighters spent more than three hours pumping water out into the main road but, with their houses hit by flooding three times in as many weeks, Brownshill residents say they want a permanent solution found.

The scene outside Sean and Nicky Sidell's home at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday.
Photo: DENISE O'CALLAGHANThe scene outside Sean and Nicky Sidell's home at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday. Photo: DENISE O'CALLAGHAN

Norfolk County Council's flood and water management team last year produced a report recommending improvements to the drainage system under roads in two areas of Brownshill owned by Victory Housing Trust and Flagship Group, but work has yet to be carried out.

Sean and Nicky Sidell, who have lived on the estate for 20 years, said their garden was cleared of "disgusting-smelling" water and debris by Anglian Water engineers just a week ago.

The back garden of Sean and Nicky Sidell's home at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday.
Photo: NICKY SIDELLThe back garden of Sean and Nicky Sidell's home at Brownshill, Cromer, on Sunday. Photo: NICKY SIDELL

"It's been going on for years and, in the past, we have actually had bits of toilet paper washed all over our garden," Mrs Sidell said. "It's devastating and you worry constantly - if it's raining and you are out or away, you just don't know what you're going back to."

The couple, whose back and front gardens have again been left covered in mud and debris by Sunday's downpour, said they were faced with almost knee-deep water just inches from their front door, which they had barricaded with sandbags and storm boards provided by Victory Housing Trust.

"It was so deep my son had to carry me back home after I went out to babysit," Mrs Sidell said, if it hadn't been for the fire service we would definitely have had water in the house."

Pat Goodwin, who lives a few doors away from the Sidells, said a sewer drain outside her property flooded, leaving her back garden in disarray.

"The drain cover was lifting up, so I had sewage washing into the garden and it absolutely stank," she said. "My next-door neighbours actually had water go into their house and their garden was like a swimming pool. We are all really worried about what will happen if there is more heavy rain."

A Flagship Group spokesman said: "We are currently reviewing the situation, along with the contractor and a specialist provider, to find a more permanent solution."

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