Work begins to protect vulnerable homes from future flooding

 

A flood alleviation scheme to protect 500 residents from future flooding starts this week.

Today, archaeologists will begin investigations on the site, before the main engineering work begins by the autumn.

The scheme will see two storage basins to drain surface water from Cleeve escarpment, an earth bund, and diversions to existing watercourses with some being widened or realigned to cope with excessive surface water. The approach is similar to the scheme on the Horsbere Brook at Longlevens in Gloucester.

The work will take place on land at Priors Farm and Noverton Farm at the foot of the escarpment. Walkers will still be able to access the area, although they may need to take different routes whilst the work takes place.

The county council has been working with the Environment Agency and Cheltenham Borough Council since 2010 to reduce flood risk to homes in Oakley and Priors in Cheltenham. The scheme should reduce the level of flood risk for over 500 residents.

Studies carried out in 2011 and 2012 highlighted that there was a flood risk to these areas and a flood alleviation scheme was drawn up.

The work is being funded by a £2.092million grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), as well as a £341k contribution from the county council, and a further £50k from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Local Levy.

The scheme has planning approval from both Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough Councils.

Both owners of the land will be able to claim compensation for inconvenience and, upon completion, the land will be available for its continued use and purpose.

Cllr Vernon Smith, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for highways and flooding, said: “We all remember the devastation that the flooding of 2007 caused to so many communities. As such, we want to look after residents and their homes in whatever way we can. This flood alleviation scheme will reduce flood risk for over 500 residents and is essential for the local area.”

Cllr Chris Coleman, Cheltenham Borough Council cabinet member for clean and green environment said: “As landowner, we are working in partnership with the county council to support the delivery of this important flood alleviation scheme. Local residents can expect to see lots of activity in the Priors Farm area over the next few months, as work takes place to prepare for and deliver this scheme and the proposed new crematorium which will also be accessed via this land.”

Work is expected to finish on the flood alleviation scheme in spring 2018, depending on weather conditions.