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The £1 million Moorland house sitting above the flooded Somerset Levels

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

Sam Notaro's house in Moorland, which sits at the highest point of the village but relies on a 5ft bank to keep it dry

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High and just about dry - a builder holds out against the floods after turning his home into a million-pound island.

Sam Notaro has kept the waters at bay by digging a five-foot high barrier around his house.

He insisted that his partner and their two young children left in case the defences are breached, Mr Notaro is refusing to evacuate the isolated property in Moorland, Somerset.

The 40-year-old spent around £1 million building his four-bedroom detached home from scratch and moved into it just two-and-a-half years ago.

He put his pride and joy in the middle of a four-acre plot which is the highest point in Moorland.

The house was built on a spot which according to records has never been previously flooded - and Mr Notaro is determined to maintain that proud claim.

Any water that breaches his blockade is quickly pumped back out of the house. He has also wrapped the bottom of his house in polythene in an attempt to stop any rainwater soaking through the bricks.

Mr Notaro said today: "All around the house is completely flooded but because we've built a bund around it we've managed to stop it actually coming into the house.

"If we hadn't have put the bund around the house it would be completely flooded now. As it stands the barrier we've built is about 2 ft higher than the water, so that's how much more we're hoping it'll take.

"Obviously it might collapse if the pressure of the water gets too much. For about three days solid we've been pumping water out with two big pumps and stopping it from getting in.

"It's our home. I'm determined to stay here and look after it. I won't be able to get out of here now anyway - the water all around the house is up to my waist. We can't even get up and down the drive. I've got to stay here. I need to man the pumps anyway."

Sam's partner Alana O'Dell, 31, and their two children, who are 18 months old and 20 weeks old, left the house on Tuesday.

He added: "My friend came out last night (Thur) on his boat and delivered me some food. It's a disaster area around here.

"Rescuers waded through waist deep water at 2am to knock on the door and tell me to leave.

"I told them I wasn't going and they just shook my hand and said fair play, good luck."

He bought his land with Alana nearly four years ago and they planned the property themselves and got to work on building it themselves - a task which cost them more than £1 million.

Knowing that the area was vulnerable to flooding they ensured the house was built as high as the Environment Agency would allow - much higher than any recorded flood.

In spite of this their house is now completely surrounded by water three feet deep in the lowest points and eight foot deep in other areas.

Mr Notaro added: "We brought the land four years ago. When we brought it we were sure that it would be safe from flooding. The land around here has always been managed well to prevent flooding.

"We brought it and knocked the old farm house here down and started again. We spent about £1 million on the house - buying the land and then actually building and decorating the house. It took us about 18 months, then we moved in.

"Just to be on the safe side we made sure we built the house higher than the highest recorded flood. Ironically we wanted to build it higher than we did but the Environment Agency wouldn't allow it.

"The water level is higher than ever at the moment and that's how the house has ended up at risk. We all know it's called 'Moorland' but it's not meant to flood like this. All four of my acres are under water now.

"Another thing that's upsetting is how much this will have devalued the house - if we want to ever sell it now we'll struggle."

News and weather reports from flooding on the Somerset Levels, where the worst floods for 100 years have followed the wettest January in 248 years

Read more from Western Daily Press

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  • iansjaeger  |  February 14 2014, 12:19AM

    Brought: To have carried or taken something with you. Bought: Past tense of the word buy. Is it wrong to expect a journalist to be literate? That is all...

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  • cornelius1  |  February 10 2014, 7:16AM

    Government saying, sorry shouldn't have listened to advice from EA, well who should they get their advice from? Article says LA restricted rise in floor level; when do they influence FFL, except to give a minimum to protect from flooding?

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  • Jamie225  |  February 09 2014, 6:51PM

    Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now http://tinyurl.com/o6y5w5r - others have been exposing these failings for much longer.

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