Residents and councillors in Horncastle have praised the town’s new multi-million pound flood defences after a potentially major incident was averted last week.
The Environment Agency confirmed the defences came into operation for the first time after heavy rain on Easter Monday led to fears the River Bain would burst its banks.
Even with the defences, the Bain came within inches of breaching banks around the Tesco bridge and Watermill Road areas.
Town council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said he had driven around the town at the height of concerns and is convinced the defences prevented significant flooding.
He said: “The level of the river was worringly high at one stage - even with the defences working.
“Without them, I’m sure there would have been extensive flooding in parts of the town.”
Several people had gathered at Tesco bridge at teaime on Monday to watch the river rise.
Resident Anne Palmer said: “Our friend’s property has flooded before.
“As the water level rose, everyone just felt so helpless.
“Someone said the defences were working, but when the river got to within three or four inches of the top of the wall (Watermill Road) we all feared the worst.
“Fortunately, the rain had stopped earlier in the day but you can only worry would would have happened if the rain had continued - and if the defences hadn’t worked.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “The flood reservoir in Horncastle started to partially fill for the first time once river levels exceeded a pre-determined trigger point.
“The flood reservoirs did what they were designed to do - to store flood water that could otherwise have put people and their properties at risk.”
The town’s county councillor Bill Aron - a long-time campaigner for improved defences - said: “I was pleased that the new flood alleviation barrier was operational and although the River Bain was almost full to capacity, it didn’t over-top.“
Some local roads did flood - including Low Toyton Road - after the River Waring burst its banks.
Belchford and, in particular, Goulceby also experienced flooding.
Coun Burbidge said he intended to find out whether a pumping system in Ings Lane - close to Tesco’s car park - worked correctly. He said water from the drain flooded the Prospect Street playground.
Coun Burbidge added there was standing water in other parts of Horncastle which he said highlighted why the town’s Victorian drainage system needed to be improved.e