£750k secured to protect Sidmouth properties from flooding

Councillor Stuart Hughes.

Councillor Stuart Hughes. - Credit: Archant

More than 140 Sidmouth homes will be protected by new flood prevention works that are set to begin in the new financial year.

The first phase of the project will include drainage improvements, followed by the installation of a massive water storage tank at Knowle.

Funding to the tune of £750,000 has now been secured after a 2013 report found that Sidmouth has a history of flooding, both from rivers and surface water.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon’s flooding chief, said: “I’m delighted that, having been successful in getting the scheme promoted in the six-year plan, work on the preferred option for the Sidmouth surface water improvements will commence in the new 18/19 financial year.

“The work will be phased, with the drainage improvements taking place first, followed at a later date by the upstream storage tank at the Knowle.

“This scheme, when completed in 2020, will provide maximum flood protection for 142 residential properties and another 117 non-residential properties.”

Mr Hughes said final scheme details are being prepared to reduce the flood risk to the maximum number of properties.

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The preferred options are intended to control the water flow into the town centre.

A business case will be developed over the coming months.

A surface water management plan for Sidmouth concluded in 2014 that the total predicted damage in the town centre could be worth £12million over a 50-year period if surface water flooding was not addressed.

Planning permission was granted last month for a 113-retirement community, mainly on the footprint of East Devon District Council’s HQ at Knowle.

The authority is relocating to Exmouth and Honiton, with the parkland transferred to Sidmouth Town Council.

Mr Hughes added: “It is hoped that the surface water drainage improvements can be delivered during 2018/19 and storage at the Knowle – which will be subject to landowner agreement and planning approval – to be created in the latter stages of 2019/20.

“Further investigations are also being progressed to consider potential improvements that could be achieved in the Woolbrook area.”