Standing by Coverack 12 months on from flash floods

One year on from the flash flood that devastated Coverack, residents are doing what they do best: welcoming summer visitors to the picturesque village and telling their extraordinary story of community resilience.

The village is holding a ‘One Year On from the Flood’ exhibition in St Peter’s Hall on Wednesday (18 July) to show visitors just how far they have come - with the help of emergency services, Cornwall Council, volunteers, the Environment Agency (EA) and others.

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The Council has been working with the community to restore Coverack ever since rain, thunder and hail hit the historic fishing village on the afternoon of 18 July 2017. 

The Environment Agency recorded 180mm of rainfall in three hours – three times the monthly average for the whole of July and enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall four times over.

The force of the flood washed away the main road and damaged more than 50 homes and businesses.

In the immediate aftermath, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Services, CORMAC, the EA and volunteers from RNAS Culdrose, Team Rubicon and Khalsa Aid were there to help with the evacuation and clean-up, as well as keeping community morale high.

Working round the clock, CORMAC got the main road and carpark, ripped apart by the torrent of floodwater, repaired and reopened in five days – vital for a community reliant on the summer tourist trade.

In the days, weeks and months since, Council and CORMAC services have:

  • cleared 100 tonnes of debris littering the sea front and Polcoverack Lane in 10 days
  • provided 14 days of on-site support from the Localism team, who liaised between villagers and Council services
  • removed and disposed of the fridges, boilers, ovens and other large household goods washed into gardens, lanes and fields
  • repaired North Corner Lane in two months
  • given ongoing advice to residents about how to deal with the damage caused by the flood to their gardens and property
  • completed, over six months, stability investigation work along North Corner Lane
  • reconstructed Polcoverack Lane footpath and bridge and
  • carried out, over 10 months, major reconstruction works after a landslip on the footpath at Sunny Corner.

Cornwall Council Leader Adam Paynter was at the scene of the flood the morning after and committed that the Council would stay until the very end when all work was complete. He said:

“This was a devastating local incident and the whole community, emergency workers, Council and our partner agencies, and volunteers rallied around to help the people of Coverack during a time of need.

“In 12 months we’ve worked hard to support the local community and tackle some complex issues to reconstruct areas. One year on, most of the work is complete and we’re working with residents and businesses to address the last outstanding issues. We have remained true to our word.”

Cllr Julian D Rand MBE, member for St Keverne and Meneage, said:

“For me Coverack was a disaster that had an incredible result. The local community worked tirelessly to support each other and reacted with a true feeling of positivity.

“The wider community - Cornwall Council, Cormac, St Keverne Parish Council and volunteers from across the country - all came together to restore Coverack in an amazingly short time. 

“Of course, there is more to do. The July flood was followed by Storm Emma earlier in 2018 and this damaged the Dolor Carpark, an essential resource for the Village.

“However, the amazing community spirit lives on and Coverack  will remain a Beacon for people working together in the face of challenge.”

The Council expects to complete the following work in the next few months:

  • underpinning the wall of a house at North Corner
  • repairing a bridge on the south west coast path and
  • restoring a footpath at Rosenithon.