Millions set to be poured into flood defences

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THE government has announced almost £50m of measures to protect homes from flooding across the area.

The raft of flood alleviation schemes is part of a £2.3bn investment announced yesterday by the Treasury as part of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant, Gosport and West Sussex, will all benefit over the next six years with Portsmouth’s coastal defences boosted to the tune of £38m – and more expected to be announced next year.

The highlights include:

n £24m for the North Portsea Island coastal defences.

n £1.6m for the Hambledon underground pipe.

n £12.5m for Southsea flood defences (with further funding for the project expected to be announced next spring).

n £1.8m for south Hayling beach management.

The huge investment has been welcomed by the communities most affected by flooding.

Ray Cobbett, an Emsworth resident and co-ordinator for Hampshire Friends of the Earth, said: ‘This was announced last year but we’ve only just learned the details.

‘It’s long overdue and will be warmly welcomed by the people who have had to live with their homes being flooded over the years.

‘This will ease the problems in Selangor Avenue and parts of Victoria Road.

‘I believe it will also take in the notorious flooding culvert that goes over the A259.’

James News, the environment spokesman for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It’s so exciting.

‘We have a small amount of resources but specialist officers who are talented and experienced in flood defences.

‘They have been working hard and its fantastic to have secured this funding.

‘One of the great things about it is we’re not only going to improve the flood defences for the whole of the island, giving residents peace of mind that their homes and businesses will be safe, but we will make the areas more aesthetically pleasing.’

He added: ‘Rather than seeing a concrete wall put up we want something that will complement the areas of rich cultural importance.

‘At the moment the plans are being worked up so we don’t know what the total cost will be.

‘We can’t use sea defence money for that.

‘We are still consulting on it and we will apply to places such as the Solent LEP for that.

‘We’re confident a lot of people will get behind this.’