IF Tenbury does not get its flood defence scheme it will become a ghost town.

This is the stark message from county councillor David Chambers who says that Tenbury must be protected against flooding as fears rise for the scheme that is facing a £3.2 million cost increase.

Councillor Chambers has met with with county council leader Simon Geraghty and councillor Richard Morris, the cabinet member with responsibility for the environment and representatives of the Environment Agency.

"Other than seeking planning approval from Malvern Hills District Council, it appears there are two principle hurdles to overcome," said Mr Chambers.

He said the first is the cost benefit which is a calculation of the monetary benefit of the work which must not be less than how much is spent on it.

But whilst the benefit has been calculated at £8.4 million, the cost has rocketed to £9.8 million.

"This flood defence scheme is more complicated than the majority of schemes around the country," added Mr Chambers.

"Tenbury Wells is an historic market town with numerous heritage assets which must be protected for future generations".

"It will not come as a surprise to anyone that costings calculated pre Covid and prior to the war in Ukraine will have increase substantially.

"With inflation currently at 9.1 per cent, fuel prices at £2 per litre and food, building materials and everything else going up, then of course the cost of our flood defence scheme will also go up."

He said the Environment Agency should review the overall benefits to the town as a result of the scheme and factor this into any recalculation and see if any money can be saved.

Councillor Chambers also called upon Tenbury MP Harriett Baldwin, to ask the Secretary of State for the Environment to order a review of the method of calculating the "Cost Benefit" of the scheme, taking into account, current inflationary factors and the unavoidable increase in the overall cost of the scheme.

"If you want to protect a town from flooding, if you want to protect residents' homes from being partially destroyed again, if you want businesses to be able to survive and prevent Tenbury from becoming a ghost town, then £3.2 million is a small price to pay."