Flood defence scheme for Tenbury is off the agenda

1403_50001 Cllr Mark Willis Deputy Mayor of Tenbury and Chairman of CEST Cllr Mark Willis with the sandbags stored at the Old Auction Yard (3383879)

1403_50002 Cllr Mark Willis Deputy Mayor of Tenbury and Chairman of CEST Cllr Mark Willis with the sandbags stored at the Old Auction Yard (3383901)

1403_50003 Cllr Mark Willis Deputy Mayor of Tenbury and Chairman of CEST Cllr Mark Willis beneath Tenbury’s Teme Bridge (3383932)

Councillor Mark Willis, deputy mayor of Tenbury and chairman of CEST, pictured with sandbags.

First published in News

AS large areas of the country disappeared under flood water Tenbury held its collective breath and was eventually able of heave a sigh of relief.

But it may not be as lucky next time and sooner or later a flood like 2007 will return.

However, the bleak news is that a proper flood defence scheme appears to have been ruled out for good.

Nevertheless, Tenbury Town Council has been making sure that at least some contingency is in place.

Mark Willis, the deputy mayor of Tenbury and chair of the town’s CEST (Community Emergency Support Team), says that steps can be taken to limit flooding damage but a defence scheme is off the agenda.

He says that talks with experts from the Environment Agency show that the cheapest scheme would cost £3 million and that the town would only be eligible for about £700,000 from the Government.

Mark Willis describes this as a ‘bog standard’ scheme that would involve encircling much of the town with a permanent high wall.

“I know that this would not be acceptable to many people as the visual impact would be too great,” said Mark Willis.

He said other alternatives including dredging the River Teme or providing a flood storage area upstream would not be practicable.

“It would be necessary to dredge not just the River Teme but the River Seven down as far as the estuary.”

However, even if there was a flood wall that would need to include gates at the bridge this would not stop the flooding of cellars in Tenbury.

This is because of the high water table and the water would simply come up through the ground.

Mark Willis said that it is not all bad news and that Individual Property Protection including sliding flood gates that can be slotted in front of doors can make a difference.

The town also has a stock of 700 sandbags that are currently stored on the old Auction Yard site and are ready for distribution by a team of volunteers.

“When Tesco is built these will have to be moved so we are keen to hear from anyone who can provide storage and also from people to would be willing to join the team of volunteers,” added Mark Willis.

He said that a contributory factor in past floods had been the inability of drains to cope and that there had been improvements to alleviate this problem.

But a major concern is the possible loss of a fire engine as the Hereford and Worcester Fire service looks to make savings.

With two engines one appliance has been stationed on the town side of the bridge at times of flood to help with pumping out.

However, this will not be possible if as envisaged one of the two fire tenders is removed from the station in Burford.

It has been agreed that if there is a major flood people who are evacuated from their homes will go to St Michaels and Tenbury High School which will be used as a centre by the emergency services.

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