Breakthrough in long campaign for flood defences

Jacob Monerville. Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

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A £700,000 scheme that will significantly reduce flood risk in Emsworth is coming to fruition after years of campaigning.

Detailed plans have been submitted by the Environment Agency to Havant Borough Council for a water storage area on land to the north of the A27, behind the railway line.

It comes after two decades of misery for some residents in the Selangor Avenue area.

Just before Christmas for the last two years, several homes have been left soaked under several inches of water as the Nore Farm Stream has burst its banks during heavy rain.

The damage has run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Chris Clode, chairman of Emsworth Flood Action Group, was jubilant about the news.

He said: ‘This planning application comes after a lot of hard work by the Emsworth Flood Action Group, the Environment Agency and Havant Borough Council.

‘We are delighted that finally an application has been submitted which will give greater peace of mind to residents of Selangor Avenue and Nore Farm Avenue.

‘We are looking forward to work commencing, hopefully in the autumn of this year.’

He added: ‘We are also working for a flood alleviation scheme for Bridge Road and Victoria Road to alleviate the flooding that occurs from West Brook.

‘That’s still a work in progress.’

The work will involve shallow excavations to create permanent water storage wetland ponds.

The wetland ponds will provide a habitat for wildlife.

A report states 51 homes are at risk of flooding.

The risk will reduce from 20 per cent to around one per cent as a result of the changes.

Andrew Gilham, flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency, said: ‘For the houses at risk, once the storage area is completed it will significantly reduce the risk of flooding.

‘Water will back up and collect upstream, rather than flooding people’s homes.’

The final hurdle of the scheme will be obtaining agreement from the landowner.

Mr Gilham said: ‘Negotiations are quite delicate with any landowner.

‘We need to ensure we can demonstrate value for money.’

If approved, construction could start at the end of the year or early 2015.