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Gravesend residents prepared themselves for flooding which never came
BUSINESSES and residents on the Gravesend riverfront protected their homes with sandbags and floodsacks as they prepared themselves for the predicted storm surge which never came.
Gravesham Council and Environment Agency officials spent all of Thursday night and Friday during the day until 4pm at Royal Pier Road next to the river making sure residents were prepared and informed of what was going on.
St Andrew's Arts Centre, The Royal Clarendon Hotel and all the homes blocked their doorways with sandbags to try and prevent damage.
Gary Kingsmill, 41, a recruitment consultant, who lives in Royal Pier Road said the news of the storm had been 'worrying' as he had had to move lots of his furniture around in preparation.
He said: "The bedrooms in these houses are downstairs so I spent a lot of time moving all my valuables upstairs in case the flooding did happen.
"There has been a lot of preparation and we just did everything we could in the worst case scenario."
Another woman resident of the road who didn't want to be named she said had been up all of Thursday night.
She said: "It was just the worrying about it that kept me awake.
"It's been quite disruptive but we just had to prepare and do everything we could.
"I have seen the water higher in the past."
Les Woolends, owner of the Clarendon Hotel praised the work of the Environment Agency and the work of Gravesham Council workers.
He said: "They have been great and did everything they could to help us. The council workers were here all night and were wonderful.
"We have had lots of people on the site and were as prepared as we could."
"Now its just a question of cleaning up." Donald Walters, 41, his wife Stephanie, 51, and daughter Billy Jean, 20, from Springhead Road, Northfleet, went for a special visit to the Gravesend river front to see how high the tides had got on Friday afternoon.
Mr Walters said: "I have never seen the river this high in my life.
"We have been following all of the updates on the web and finding out the latest information.
"Our house in Northfleet has been flooded a few times and we wanted to come down and see how high the tide had got."
Peter Rice, 63, from Bromley, who is also a member of Erith Yacht Club, popped down to the riverfront at 3pm to check how high the tide had got.
He said: "I have been checking in the paper what time the tide was going to be up and that's why I popped down, it is certainly the highest I have ever seen it."
An emergency planner for Gravesham Council added: "We prepared for the absolute worst, that was all we could do.
"A lot worse was predicted for Gravesend and thank goodness the floods did not come.
"It makes it a lot easier for us to clear up. We gave out flood sacks to all the residents and businesses along Royal Pier Road who were most at risk and sea facing.
"It could have been a lot worse."
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