A £500,000 scheme to fund a flood bund and culvert upgrade in Barnoldswick is being sought to stop a repeat of Boxing Day’s dramatic scenes.
Pendle Council is to put forward the Ghyll Meadows area of town for the half million pound scheme to upgrade an underground culvert which takes water underneath the housing estate, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and into Stock Beck. Also part of the plan is to raise the level of an existing flood defence system along the edge of the Rolls-Royce playing fields in Skipton Road.
Earby is also being put forward for Department of Communities and Local Government funding to achieve an improved flood defence scheme in the town.
Councillors are keen to see no repeat of Boxing Day in Barnoldswick where volunteers were desperately dashing about creating a man made flood barrier from sandbags and building materials to hold back an estimated 5,000 cubic metres of water, while others hastily constructed channels to redirect water elsewhere.
Coun. David Whipp said: “In the Ghyll Meadows area, we’ve made a lot of progress with the issues we identified on Boxing Day.
“The work we carried out a dozen or so years ago, a higher barrier alongside Skipton Road and £300,000 invested in a large culvert on Meadow Way, together with a lot of smaller projects, has saved Ghyll Meadows from flooding several times over the years, including twice previously this winter before Boxing Day.
“It’s clear that there needs to be further work if we are to reduce the risk further and cater for more extreme weather events.
“Going back to 2000 and 2002, when there were three floods affecting homes at Ghyll Meadows, although there were many smaller problems that we’ve sorted out, the main problem was the water collecting in the sports field and then flooding over into the houses when it reached the level of the road.
“Bitter experience has taught us that holding back the water at that point is the only way of saving property from being flooded if the drainage system is overwhelmed by the volume of water coming down.”
Since Boxing Day, Rolls-Royce has put in a permanent drain in to encourage the water in the right direction at the corner of Ghyll Lane and the entrance to the sports fields.
Coun. Whipp is hoping to seize the moment to push forward plans and ensure the work can take place.
He added: “The culvert is classed as a ‘main river’ due to its importance taking all the surface water from that area, which is like a bowl surrounded by glacial drumlins; after passing beneath the roads and houses, it goes under the canal where the watercourse joins Stocks Beck in the floodplain between Greenberfield and Gisburn Road.
“The DCLG invited councils to put forward infrastructure projects to address flooding.
“From Pendle, we submitted two at Earby and at Ghyll Meadows. In Barlick, we’d be looking to replace the current Boxing Day barrier with a permanent bund to hold back the water in the Rolls-Royce sports field, and upgrading the size of the culvert along the remaining length of original underground watercourse.
“We could possibly achieve a permanent barrier using local resources, but the cost of the culvert upgrade definitely needs substantial external funding.”