Flood defence hopes rising
AFTER years of waiting, new flood defences are being planned for St Neots in a bid to protect homes near the town s riverside car park. Although residents of The Paddock escaped flooding following the heavy rain last week, there are 26 homes in a high-ris
AFTER years of waiting, new flood defences are being planned for St Neots in a bid to protect homes near the town's riverside car park.
Although residents of The Paddock escaped flooding following the heavy rain last week, there are 26 homes in a high-risk flood area.
For the past four years, St Neots town councillor and resident of The Paddock, Jennifer Bird, has been working with the Environment Agency and Huntingdonshire District Council to introduce flood prevention measures and said it has been a "long process".
Cllr Bird said: "It has taken a while but it feels good that something is going to get done. The flood defences are going to be of huge benefit relieving water volumes from elsewhere in the town.
"People were worried about future flooding but with these new defences, hopefully, they no longer need to be worried."
The last time The Paddock flooded was in 2003 when about six inches of water reached the homes. "It was devastating," said Cllr Bird. "It was not like the floods we have seen recently in Gloucestershire but it wasn't nice.
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"When I moved to the area five years ago my solicitor said there was a one-in-100 chance of being flooded - that has since changed to a one-in-20 chance."
The flood defence scheme, which is at the design stage, will involve walls and earth embankments and will cost £650,000. Public consultation is due to take place in the autumn followed by planning permission being sought and then work starting next year.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: "It takes a while to plan something like this but, hopefully, when completed we will have a scheme that is suited to protect homes from flooding in that area.
"It is envisaged it will look something like the flood defences in St Ives where the car park is allowed to flood but the nearby homes will be protected.