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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / Flood risks in Tunstall- buying a new home there!
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Flood risks in Tunstall- buying a new home there!

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MaxDread
Oct-10-2009 @ 12:53 PM                           Permalink
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Hi and thanks for having me on the forum!

My partner and I are hoping to buy a house in Tunstall and have a few concerns about the possibility of floods in the area.  We've checked the EA flood pages and it seems the village itself is ok, but a lot of the  surrounding area is classed as having a 1 in 100 chance of flood.

I grew up in Happisburgh and have learnt first hand what effect flood risks can have on house prices.  My folks had to sell their house for a heck of a lot less than its value because of the location.  I don't want to end up in the same boat (or - quite literally - I don't want to end up in a boat!) by buying a house in Tunstall and never being able to sell it/live in it in the future due to flooding.

So I wondered if anyone here cares to share an opinion on the subject or offer advice as to where I could find out more about it all.

Many thanks

Max

PS - I spelt Tunstall wrong in the title!  If a mod could change it that would be great.

This message was edited by MaxDread on Oct-10-09 @ 2:20 PM

billmaxted
Oct-10-2009 @ 3:13 PM                           Permalink
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Difficult to comment but I would not say that there is any greater or lesser risk than large numbers of other places on the Broads that various members on here like myself call home.

Bill...(The Ancient Mardler)

GaryCantley
Oct-10-2009 @ 5:17 PM                           Permalink
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My daughter visits a friend in Tunstall (near Halvergate) occasionally.

From what I have seen the area itself is quite high, in relation to the marshland around it.

This is no guarantee against anything though.

Gary.

Fat bloke in bright yellow buoyancy aid.

Forum Girly Swat 20 Mar 09 and 15 May 2009.

woodwose
Oct-10-2009 @ 5:49 PM                           Permalink
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You can get flood maps from the Environment Agency. The 1 in 100 line shows those places which can expect a flood once in 100 years. There is also a 1 in 200 line. Of course, the 1 in 100 event could happen tomorrow. You don't know.
We looked carefully at this when we were buying our house here in Ludham. We are right on top of a hill, but it is still only 16m above sea level. This is above the 1 in 200 mark. Ordinarily, you would not worry about that too much but with Global warming who knows.
I would not have thought there was any imminent threat from the sea in Tunstall. However, one day, the sea will reclaim this area. It seems that this will be at least 50 years away.
I hope you find a nice place.

Nigel
Ludham

Strowager
Oct-10-2009 @ 5:56 PM                           Permalink
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There are two quite different concerns raised here, coastal erosion eating land away directly, and rising sea levels that could flood low lying waterside areas.

Shoreline properties, such as at Happisburgh are completely blighted by the threat, because it's unlikely any Government, (of any likely Party), will continually spend large sums of public money to protect property in such a sparsely populated area. (sympathies to anyone living there).

I think that the general area of the Broads is a different matter though.
We've had the recent criminal scaremongering by the press over Natural England's thoughts about abandoning the Hickling/Horsey/West Somerton area. This immediately destroyed Public confidence in property in that area, and many house sales actually in progress fell through.

Things seem to have calmed down now, maybe global warming is beginning to pale as a hot topic, (we've got swine flu to worry about now).

Almost all of the 120 miles of the navigable rivers are tidal, so as things are now, the rising sea levels would affect the whole area, being connected directly through Yarmouth.

Defra are now nearly half way through a 20 year scheme to increase flood protection over the Broads area, North and South. This is why so many rivers now look like dual carriageways, with much wider adjacent soke dykes and wider earth flood banks beyond them.

This has increased the flood protection of many areas, but actually made things worse in others. Many private and commercial riverside properties, especially in the South, are now experiencing more frequent and greater flooding than would have otherwise naturally occurred.  Most of the new flood banks are now protecting grazing marshes and flood plains, so the water doesn't overtop there now, so river levels rise even higher and spill over privately owned gardens, quays, and boatyards, which are not practical to raise en-masse like field dykes.

Having said all this, it's quite rare for Broads properties not immediately bordering the rivers to flood, even during flash rain storms. The area is so flat that excess surface water doesn't get channelled through steep sided river valleys, like the Severn.

If you are considering much further ahead, say 50 years, (your house being then owned by your children !), then it's tricky to predict. When the Sea levels do become too high for the Broads, it would be feasible to then dam or barrage the Bure at Yarmouth, rather than lose such a large area of quite valuable property containing so many voters (sorry, citizens).  Smile

ABC123
Oct-10-2009 @ 6:14 PM                           Permalink
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Never understood the "philosophy" of increasingthe height of river walls. Seems to fail in a number of areas:

1. Surely a flat open areas will act for more efficiently as a reservoir for excess water rather than channelling out to sea - and waddaya know, that's what marshes do!! So let's build a big wall to keep the water off them.

2. River walls are difficult to build in towns - so they don't do it. Now when the water comes to the end of the walls, (more than there used to be because the marshes can't flood) it spews into the towns.

Doesn't seem very joined-up thinking to me.

MaxDread
Oct-14-2009 @ 12:14 PM                           Permalink
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A huge thanks for all the help and feedback.

RE:  height.  The house in Tunstall is only around 8m above sea level it would seem.  But then it is next to such a huge flood plain of 0m above that I presumed all that land would flood first!  I don't know a great deal about it all though....  My 2x2 tells me that all that 0m land would need to be flooded to a similar height of the house before there would be a problem.  

"However, one day, the sea will reclaim this area. It seems that this will be at least 50 years away."

I guess what I am learning through research is just how little is known about what the future will bring.  I appreciate and realise it is most likely the sea will reclaim the land (and a lot of East Anglia).  But I always thought it was more like 100 or 150+ years away.  Hearing people say 50 years is quite scary!  I guess the most significant factor is whether the house would be sell-able in the future with risks of flooding hanging over it and becoming more imminent.  

One more thing – it seems a lot of work is being done to the river around Acle.  A lot of the footpaths there are closed.  Is this defence work likely to be effective and have an impact on the risks faced in Tunstall?
Thanks again for the insights.  Any further reflections would be most appreciated.

All the best

Max

This message was edited by MaxDread on Oct-14-09 @ 12:21 PM

Strowager
Oct-14-2009 @ 3:06 PM                           Permalink
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Yes Max, I would say that's a reasonable deduction of the situation from the facts that we currently know.

Any property adjacent to a large (below sea level) flood plain, but which itself is 2 metres or higher above, is at very low risk of direct flooding for at least a 100 years. Local infrastructure may suffer though, eg local roads and paths. Who knows, you may even end up living on the IOA "Isle of Acle". Smile

It probably won't come to that though. When crystal ball gazing the possibilities a hundred years ahead, I still think that it's inconceivable  the 120 mile river system would be allowed to act as a conduit to flood the whole of the Broads, when it could be very cost-effectively dammed at Yarmouth, where the river is only about 50 metres wide, with an average rise and fall of 2m.

That decision has not been taken so far, for ecological or whatever reasons. When it becomes the only remaining practical way of saving tens of thousands of Broadland properties & businesses, it's inevitable.

Likewise, if it ever did break through the low lying areas adjacent to the sea at Horsey and Somerton, the Thurne could be dammed at Potter, if Natural England's "plan" of retreating to the A149 ever happened. Gasp

This message was edited by Strowager on Oct-14-09 @ 3:21 PM


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