PEOPLE living in Tenbury are being encouraged to speak out if they want a permanent flood defence scheme for the town.

The call has come from Harriett Baldwin MP whose West Worcestershire constituency includes Tenbury.

Attempts to get a flood defence scheme have been on and off since major flooding six years ago.

Initially engineers from the Environment Agency put a price tag of £5 million on a scheme that they said could not be justified.

Small scale work has been undertaken to protect individual properties at greatest risk and the town has a supply of sandbags.

But now the idea of a proper flood defence scheme has been revived.

Harriett Baldwin has called on Tenbury residents to speak up on the need for permanent flood defences.

The MP has urged local homeowners and businesses to express their views on the need for a permanent solution to alleviate flooding in Tenbury.

She made the call after arranging a meeting with the town’s mayor Mark Willis and the Environment Agency to discuss the issue.

The town faced serious flooding in 2007 and has been threatened on several occasions in the following years and homes and businesses have had to rely on new measures to protect individual properties such as flood gates.

At the moment no funding is available to build a permanent solution that would meet cost-benefit criteria and local properties owners have been given grants to put individual flood protection on their homes and businesses. Ninety six properties have taken up this offer out of

168 eligible properties.

“Two years ago, I convened a meeting of all the key local representatives to discuss this matter and pull together a strategic plan,” said Harriett Baldwin.

“Having walked around the town it is clear that some areas just need better walls and a simple bund could protect the area next to the tennis courts and playground.

“At the moment there is no funding on offer for the whole scheme but if the whole town can get behind a strategic plan, the Environment Agency has agreed to look at what steps we can take to change this.

“It may be that some parts of the strategic plan can be built over a number of years by breaking it into sections.

“I understand that the strategic plans will soon be made public and it is important the local home owners and businesses have their say so we can take the message to the Environment Agency and central Government that Tenbury wants proper flood defences.”