Progress on flood protection

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Civil engineering works are underway on a vital flood protection scheme that will help protect properties in the Oakley, Whaddon, Prestbury and Lynworth areas of Cheltenham.

Work to prepare the site and protect local ecology is now complete, making way for earthworks that will shape the land and help it better manage excess water. Construction is currently underway to adapt ground levels on Priors Farm and Noverton Farm, which will create earth mounds that hold back floodwater during in the severe rainfall. These grass-covered embankments will act as barriers to two basins that can store up to 23,300m3 of water. The scheme will also add new diversions to existing watercourses that help to drain excess water from Cleeve Escarpment, improving flood risk protection for 179 properties in the area.

The approach is similar to the scheme on the Horsbere Brook at Longlevens in Gloucester. 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. The scheme, which was drawn up as a result of studies in 2011 and 2012 that highlighted flood risks in the area, should reduce the level of flood risk for over 500 residents. The work is being funded by a £2.092million flood defence grant in aid from DEFRA, as well as a £341k contribution from the county council, and £50k from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee Local Levy. The scheme has planning approval from both Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough Councils.

Work is scheduled to be complete by autumn this year, weather permitting.

Cllr Vernon Smith, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for highways and flooding, said: “The flooding of 2007 was devastating for many communities, so we want to look after residents and their homes in whatever way we can. Once complete, this essential scheme will reduce the risk of flooding for over 500 residents. By doing this in a way which makes best use of the natural environment to manage excess water, we will be able to use and enjoy the land as it was prior to the works.” Andrew McKinlay, Cheltenham Borough Council cabinet member for development and safety, said: “This flood alleviation scheme is vital to protect residents in the Priors Farm area for many years to come. As landowner, we are working in partnership with the county council to support the delivery of this important scheme.”