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Counting the cost of storm damage

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

BIG CLEAR-UP:  Seaton villagers cleaning up the enormous pile of debris.

BIG CLEAR-UP: Seaton villagers cleaning up the enormous pile of debris.

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NEW SEA defences in a village battered by storms would cost £500,000 to replace, Cornwall Council has said.

Seaton, on the south east Cornwall coast, was pounded by high seas and heavy rain two weeks ago, leaving many business and homeowners counting the cost.

Looe residents were also clearing up this week after the storm surge left large parts of the town centre under water.

In total, 60 homes and businesses were swamped in Fore Street, Quay Street and East Looe Quay with four inches of water reported to have flooded the streets. But councillors there say they have seen far worse flooding and praised townsfolk for their resilience in dealing with the high water.

Cornwall councillor for West Looe and Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage and Planning, Edwina Hannaford said: "Although 60 homes and businesses were flooded by the high tide, it could have been a lot worse as the wind thankfully changed direction.

"I have seen worse flooding in Looe but that is no consolation to the people who have had to get their mops and buckets out yet again.

"I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers in the RNLI, coastguard and fire and rescue who were out in force from early Friday morning helping to bail out and warn traffic on West Looe Quay and Fore Street."

Cornwall councillor for East Looe, Armand Toms, said: "The town gets up and gets on with it.

"The flooding is so regular that people are used to it and clean up their places.

"It's a resilient place and it will probably get flooded again in the future. It's flooded all my life and my dad's life and even my grandad's life, who was alive in 1891."

Looe harbour master Jeff Penhaligon said: "Once you have been flooded a couple of times people just get on with it and clean up.

"I don't know of any business that wasn't open by lunchtime.

In Seaton, residents rallied around to clear up debris left behind by the storm.

Led by chairman of the Friends of Seaton Valley, villagers took part in a beach-clean last weekend.

The beach café, which was badly damaged in the storm, reopened on Wednesday.

Ms Williams, organiser of the clean-up, was delighted with the turnout of 22 volunteers, with 23 bags of rubbish collected.

She said: "It was an incredible mess.

"It was pretty filthy, there's still a bit of mess there.

"The difference in the look of the place after the clean-up is pleasing."

Cornwall councillor for Trelawny ward, Jim Candy, said: "I congratulate the residents on their clean-up.

"There has been a huge amount of damage to the beach but no lives were lost.

"Everyone was surprised with the ferocity of the storm.

"The storms caused devastation throughout the county and sand was lost at Whitsand Bay as well as Seaton beach."

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: "The council is continuing to carry out temporary repairs, to protect from further damage.

"Designs are in progress for a more permanent solution – costs for the permanent rebuild are estimated to be in the region of £500,000."

The total bill for the clean-up and repairs in the county stands at an estimated £2 million. For more on this story, see page 16

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  • Daritedan  |  January 21 2014, 5:36PM

    So it it is going to cost half a million to put Seaton right when it could have cost just a couple of thousand before the damaging floods to use a bulldozer to divert the river back to the west. Instead Cornwall CC were "monitoring the situation". Great bit of monitoring that is going to cost the taxpayers £450,000.

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