£500k flood preventions works to start soon in Sidmouth

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4996. Picture: Terry Ife

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4996. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The first phase of a scheme to reduce flood risk in Sidmouth is set to start on Monday, August 17.

The £550,000 project is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, a dual-purpose flood prevention scheme that also serves as an amenity area for the local community.

It is part of a wider Devon County Council project which aims to reduce flood risk to more than 100 homes and businesses around the Knowle area of the town, as well as parts of the town centre.

In the initial phase of work, new drainage will be installed on Station Road to divert surface water away from properties.

Once collected, the water will run down a wildflower lined swale into a newly formed amphitheatre in the grounds of the Knowle.

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An underground storage system will initially hold flood waters beneath the amphitheatre with a capacity to contain water up to a one in 30-year storm event.

The tiered sections above ground will be filled as needed in more extreme storm events, enabling up to half a metre of water to be stored above ground during a one in 100-year storm event.

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The work is being undertaken by contractor South West Highways and is due to be completed in November.

The second phase of the scheme, which will focus on drainage improvements within the town, is currently being developed and is expected to be delivered in the next financial year.

The scheme has been designed with the public open space nature of the Knowle in mind, moving away from a more traditional bund arrangement to one that can enhance the parkland and provide an amenity area for the community when the scheme is not required for floodwater storage.

Devon County Council has worked with Sidmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council to ensure that the dual use nature of the scheme enhances the park and provides the required flood benefits.

Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “I’m delighted that the first phase of this well thought out scheme is commencing as it ticks two very important boxes by reducing the flood risk to so many businesses and properties in the town.”

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