A TENBURY councillor is urging people to put the interests of the town before themselves and not risk undermining the flood defence scheme.

Town councillor Steve Bowkett is worried that individual objections may result in the flood defence being less effective than it could be.

“I think a lot of us will hope that people will listen and take it all in and go with what benefits the people of the town and not them personally,” said councillor Bowkett.

He was speaking at a meeting where the Environment Agency was providing an update on the scheme.

The agency is going through a process of consulting with people before finalising the design.

Sophie Lee from the agency was hopeful that a successful scheme would be completed.

“We always find some people that are not happy but we are always able to build,” said Ms Lee.

Concerns about the proposal have included the impact upon the Burgage recreation area and the fact that St Mary’s Church was not within the original boundary of the flood defences.

The town council has said that it is important that the people of Tenbury are involved in the decision making and the agency has said that it wants to listen and take into account any comments and suggestions.

However, at a previous meeting Ms Lee did remind the council that the project, estimated to cost between £5 million and £6 million with much of the funding coming from the Government, has a limited budget and too many changes that increased the cost could make it not viable.

The Environment Agency is pressing ahead with its tests and investigations.

This will include the use of special radar in order to locate accurately any pipes, wires and other utility infrastructure that is underground.

There are also surveys relating to bats and other wildlife. The agency is also taking note that the River Teme is a site of special scientific interest.

It is hoped that work can begin in the spring of 2022 which cannot come too soon for traders and residents in the town that are still recovering and counting the cost of the flood in February 2020.

This came just weeks before the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown which has left some businesses fighting for their lives.

Whilst the full flood defence scheme is still being designed the engineers have said that it will require a wall and bunds around the town as other options such as deepening the river channel and building upstream storage will not work.

The scheme will take into account the predicted consequences of climate change and will provide statistically one in a hundred years level of protection. However, this does not guarantee that it will be another century before the town is subject to a major flood. It is just an indication of the likelihood of this happening.