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Friday 26 March 2010

Cheshire East Scoops More Than £125,000 To Boost Flood Defences

Cheshire East has been awarded more than £125,000 of government cash to help protect homes from flooding.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) grants will be used to boost flooding defences for 20 homes in Vicarage Lane, Sandbach, and a farm and a terrace of four cottages in Wildboarclough.

Cheshire East Council successfully bid for grants totalling £128,500 from DEFRA, under its property level flood protection and resilience scheme.

The grants are part of £5.3m awarded to 49 local authorities to help them tackle surface water flooding – a problem when the ground, rivers and drains cannot absorb heavy rainfall.

Councillor Brian Silvester, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “These grants are great news for the communities living in Vicarage Lane and Wildboarclough.

“Protecting people from the threat of flooding is a paramount concern of Cheshire East Council. I congratulate the Cheshire East staff who successfully apllied for this grant. All public spending is being squeezed at the moment so it is even more important that we obtain the maxinum amount of external funding.”

The Vicarage Lane project has been awarded £100,000. The money will be used to enlarge the existing surface water drains to help prevent flooding during heavy rainfall, which has previously affected 20 properties.

The project will replace existing 125mm-diameter drains under the road with 425mm-diameter pipes. An extra manhole and water retention chamber will also be added to increase the system’s water capacity.

The work, which is due to start later in the year and will take several weeks to complete, will not affect the look of the lane.

Sandbach councillor Brian Moran said: “This is most welcome news and once the scheme is implemented will bring long awaited relief to a number of concerned residents.”

Gary Mallin, Cheshire East highway asset and traffic manager, said: “The current drainage system capacity is too small for the rainfall and surface run-off we get in the area.”

A grant totalling £28,500 will provide anti-flooding measures for Dingers Hollow Farm and the four properties at Edinboro Cottages, Wildboarclough. The work could include flood-resistant doors for the properties.

Surveys will be commissioned as soon as possible, with the work due to start later this year. The scheme will be completed by March 2011.

Macclesfield Forest councillor Hilda Gaddum said: “I particularly welcome the support given by this grant for the low-lying dwellings in Wildboarclough, which have suffered flooding in the past.

“It is very important to ensure that sensible and effective flood defences are in place. I greatly appreciate the support of the officers in submitting the bid.”

Martin Grime, lead emergency planning officer for Cheshire East, said: “I believe the successful grant bids will go a long way to alleviating the suffering and anxiety of residents of Edinboro Cottages and Dingers Hollow Farm as a result of flooding they have experienced over the years.”

One person died when flash floods hit Wildboarclough valley on May 24, 1989, and the farm and terrace of cottages suffered extensive flooding. The homes have experienced several flooding incidents since.

Mr Grime added: “While the 1989 flood was an extreme event, it does set the scene for the several other floods that have affected these premises since then and provided a strong background case for the successful grant bid.”

The DEFRA grants were announced by the Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies.

Last year, local authorities were invited to submit bids – from £20,000 up to £100,000 – to carry out immediate engineering works and to produce management plans to help them tackle known local flooding problems.

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