Sutton Bridge was “two inches from disaster” in a tidal surge that swept up the Nene on December 5 – and owes its great escape to an expert who had the sea defences raised following the January 1978 east coast floods.
Coun Chris Brewis said he met Geoff Beel, the then newly appointed representative for the Environment Agency, that year and “looked at what had been inadequate sea banks, and stood on West Bank near Wharf Street.
“He said ‘Chris, I know what I am required to do, but I think we will put an extra yard on top of that’.
“That 1978 decision of Geoff saved the houses in Wharf, Lime, Custom House and High streets, and Nene Meadows and Mill Lane from a worse fate.”
The riverbanks stood firm last December, but eyewitness reports say the tidal surge was two to six inches from the top.
The parish council is asking the Environment Agency to raise the sea defences after its vice-chairman Michael Booth described the village as being “two inches from disaster”.