Flood funds in pipeline for Earby as town hosts ‘drop-in’ advice session

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

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More than £500,000 is to be pumped into Earby flood alleviation schemes after the Environment Agency gave the green light to funding.

Detailed plans are being drawn up for the refurbishment of the Victoria Clough culvert in Earby below Colne Road and Victoria Road which takes water from the North Holme direction.

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

Its trash screen is also to be replaced as part of the proposed work which could cost up to £500,000 and is due to be completed in 2016.

The EA has also put forward £50,000 from its Grant in Aid programme to update the modelling for Earby Beck and its tributaries and look at the costs and options for undertaking a flood alleviation scheme in the area.

It is hoped that the scheme fully completed will include a water storage system upstream of the town and include a bypass above the Youth Hostel.

A spokesman for the EA said: “At this stage it is just an investigative study to identify which is the preferred and most cost effective option.

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

Earby under water on Boxing Day. (S)

“The study, which is hoped to complete within the financial year 2016/2017, will look at all sources of flooding and review the current flood map and flood warning areas.

“The agency will seek the input of residents, councillors, flood wardens and other key stakeholders in order to fully understand the flooding problem and provide the opportunity of shaping the potential solution.”

The first of several Lancashire wide drop-in events is being held in Earby tomorrow between 3pm and 8pm at the New Road Community Centre.

The event is open to anyone living in Pendle and those with businesses in the borough who have concerns about flooding issues.

Agencies attending will include Pendle Council, Lancashire Emergency Planning Team, Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council Trading Standards, Lancashire County Council Flood Risk Management and Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Possible attendees are the Flood Advisory Service, National Flood Forum, Integrated Wellbeing Service, Yorkshire Water and an insurance industry representative.

County Coun. David Whipp, who represents West Craven, said: “As well as various agencies providing advice to individuals, it’ll be an opportunity to comment about emergency responses to flooding problems and the need for more alleviation work. Please go along if you can.”

On the proposed work, Coun. Whipp said: “I have been working on this prior to Boxing Day but I think the events underlined just how vitally important this work is.

“Over half a million pounds is a large investment but the total we are looking at is more in the order of £2m. or thereabouts.

“This is a good start to reduce the risk of flooding but the aim is to fight for further funding to get a comprehensive flood alleviation scheme to reduce that risk down even further.”

Coun. Whipp met with the Flooding Minister Rory Stewart MP in Preston last Thursday to press Earby’s case and ensure it is not forgotten in the battle for flood defence funding.

A community meeting was also held at New Road Community Centre on Monday night where the EA, police, the fire service, council representatives met with those in Earby who volunteered on Boxing Day and those whose properties were flooded.

He added: “I lobbied Mr Stewart on Earby’s predicament in that it very much falls between two stools.

“It is in administrative Lancashire but it is possibly the only part of the county which drains into the Aire and is covered by Yorkshire. I think sometimes it is overlooked. To give him is due, Mr Stewart took that on.

“Monday night’s meeting was very well attended and was extremely positive. The outcome is the EA will feed back a lot of detail and understanding of what happened and we agreed two principal strands of work.

“The first is broader response to flooding to come up with a Community Flood Plan and the second is the issue of what physical work can be done to address the problem.”

Also last Thursday, Earby councillors had a walk around the town with Pendle Council’s engineering department to identify problem areas and pinch points and discuss what needs to be done.

Chairman of the Town Council Coun. Chris Tennant said: “It was an extremely worthwhile and constructive walk around the town.

“Victoria Clough could be down to as little as 20% or 30% capacity in places and if that is the case it explains the extent of the flooding.

“The work on the culvert is good news and it could make a massive difference.”