Cars return to road used by kayakers while flooded for two months

Sam Russell, PA

A flooded road that was used by kayakers and even a jet ski over the winter has finally cleared of water after being submerged for two months.

One businessman who lives in the village of Welney in Norfolk said he had faced an extra 40 miles on his commute while the A1101 Welney Wash Road was under water.

Sports equipment company boss John Loveday has lived in the village all his life and his offices are five miles away in Littleport, Cambridgeshire.

Winter weather Feb 18th 2021
Composite photo of people kayaking along a flooded A1101 in December and a car driving along the same road on Thursday (PA)

But the 65-year-old said he had a 25-mile detour while the road was closed, upping his commute from 10 miles per day to 50.

“It puts an hour a day on your time,” he said.

“We’ve now decided that we’re probably going to build offices at our factory at Welney and vacate the ones we have because of the disruption.”

He said the road has always flooded in winter, but some years it can only be for a week.

Winter weather Dec 27th 2020
The A1101 was used by kayakers while it was flooded (Joe Giddens/PA)

It flooded in December 2020, and cars were pictured using it again on Thursday after water levels finally dropped.

Welney was an “agricultural community” in the 1960s, Mr Loveday said, and there used to be less impact when the road was closed.

“We were self-contained then,” he said.

“Obviously people commute to London all over now so it’s totally different, but in the 50s and 60s the water would be on the road and it wouldn’t really affect anybody because people didn’t go out of the village so much.”

Winter weather Dec 27th 2020
A man on a jet ski on the flooded A1101 on December 27 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Roger Giles, 82, vice chair of Welney Parish Council, said when the road closes “it does cost people”.

But he added of the Washes: “You get both sides of it – you get the wonderful wildlife.”

The Ouse Washes act as the floodplains of the River Great Ouse at times of high rainfall and are a wetland habitat for many birds.

Mr Giles said there are “always a few, daft as brushes” who attempt to drive on the road while it is flooded.

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