A SCHEME that will significantly reduce flood risk in Emsworth is finally set to go ahead.
Officials from the Environment Agency told a packed residents’ meeting at Emsworth Community Centre that they had at last found the funding to pay for the work.
It will involve building three storage ponds to hold back water whenever there is heavy rain.
Experts told the audience of around 150 people that the risk of flooding currently stood at 20 per cent.
Once the work has been completed, the risk will be a fraction over one per cent.
Ian Miller, technical advisor, presented a scheme that will control water flows along the West Brook and Nore Farm Stream.
One holding pond will be built near Selangor Avenue, while two will be dug for the West Brook.
Mr Miller said the initial cost of the scheme was £1m – and the Environment Agency had struggled to plug a £400,000 funding shortfall.
But the cost of the scheme has been reduced to around £700,000 by remodelling the work.
The initial plan involved one holding pond on land between the railway and the A27 – the interbridges site.
This was proving to be costly and building two holding ponds – one north of the A27 and one on farmland – was in fact a cheaper option.
Hampshire County Council has also added £100,000 to the £600,000 kitty the Environment Agency already had.
The work is set to start later this year and be completed during 2014.
Mr Miller said: ‘We are not going to stop flood risk for Emsworth.
‘We are looking to reduce flood risk as much as possible with the funding and benefits that are available.’
After the presentation, Margaret Coleman, of Selangor Avenue, who is renting a house in Waterlooville while her bungalow dries out after the December floods, said: ‘Anything that can help we are grateful for.
‘But I won’t hold out hope that we won’t flood again before it happens.’
Chris Clode, chairman of Emsworth Flood Action Group, said: ‘It’s not going to remove completely the potential risk of flooding.
‘But it will do a huge amount to alleviate it.
‘We have worked very hard these last two years – and we are almost there. I think it will be a huge relief to people.’