Locals have reacted angrily to a new lifeboat station that has appeared in the village high street.
Although Harold has suffered from minor flooding in the past two years out of seven, opponents claim the lifeboat is an ‘inappropriate response’ in a community 160 miles from the sea.
Last winter, two basement ‘man caves’ and a home cinema were slightly damaged when the River Toksvig burst its banks. Images of a mildewed sofa and a sodden Star Wars poster will still be seared on the minds of our readers from those calamitous events.
But while the Environment Agency were quick to fund a scheme to bolster flood defences, Cllr Ron Ronnson has instead spent the money on a 32-tonne ‘Tamar class’ floating sister of mercy, complete with crew room, 3-foot long slipway and a siren that can comfortably be heard in Dunstable.
Ronnson insisted that it’s ‘better to be safe than sorry’, and personally oversaw a self-righting test in the carpark outside the library. That exercise was a partial success in that the vessel didn’t sink completely, but BT have confirmed that the listed phonebox it fell on is irrevocably damaged.
“We’re going to have to accept that our village will be very, very slightly flooded every couple of years”, warned Ronsson. “And I for one am not going to idly stand by when I could be donning a captain’s hat, clambering into the bridge and ringing the Jesus out of the bell.”
Although insistent that future generations will thank him for his foresight, Ronsson admits that in the short-term, the lifeboat station has a few snags.
“We went a bit over our budget, so we won’t be emptying your wheelie bins any time soon”, he warned. “And until we can borrow the money to paint yellow lines on the road, I’d ask people not to park in front of it, just in case.”
So far in the craft’s short service, it has only been launched successfully once. As a result, the high street will remain closed until further notice.