Time to have your say on flood defence

Flooding on Church Street in Croston
Flooding on Church Street in Croston
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Residents affected by recent flooding in Croston are being urged to talk to a fact-finding team working on the area’s new flood defences.

The village’s new multi-million defence scheme, launched last March, is now nearing completion.

The £5.8m project, aimed at reducing flooding to hundreds of properties, is due to be operational in May, with reinstatement and landscaping work continuing through the year.

In the meantime, a roadshow has been organised at Chorley Town Hall on Thursday, January 28. The Environment Agency will attend, together with representatives from Lancashire County Council, Chorley Council and other organisations.

The public will have the opportunity to talk to staff and share information about the recent flooding across the borough from 3pm to 8pm.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “It is so people can ask questions and get answers from the relevant authorities.

“We’ll update them on where we’re up to with the scheme and people can give us information about flooding so we can add that to our information and build up a picture.”

Kath Almond, chairman of the Lower Yarrow Flood Action Group, said a request had also gone out for the group to take part in regular local ‘Making Space for Water’ meetings.

The Government strategy involves a variety or organisations and Mrs Almond said: “We asked the minister (Anna Soubry) when she came to see the flooding and she said it was a good idea.

“It’s good for us to hear all the relevant bodies and ask questions. They can’t pass the buck then.”

The flood defence scheme will reduce the flood risk from the River Yarrow to 438 properties in Croston.

It will hold flood water back in a large storage area - the equivalent of 520 Olympic-size swimming pools - upstream of Eccleston Bridge.

Mrs Almond said the village was delighted it was near completion.

She said: “No one can say it is 100 per cent reliable but it’s as near as 100 per cent as it can be.

“It just shows how much it’s needed.”

She said Croston was a hive of repair activity at the moment.

“All through the village, it’s so congested with repair vans, loss adjustors’ cars, we really could do with a temporary ‘no access’ sign through the village.”

Andy Brown, the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk manager, said: “We understand the devastation that floods cause and our sympathy and thoughts are with all those whose properties have been flooded during the recent heavy rainfall.

“As many Croston residents will know, the Environment Agency is currently constructing a flood defence scheme to reduce flood risk in Croston.

“While this will be of little comfort to those people who are facing the clean up from the Boxing Day flood right now, the new defences will greatly reduce their flood risk in the future.” 

There are regular updates on the scheme notice board in Croston or through the scheme newsletter.

People can email croston@environment-agency.gov.uk if they would like to go on the newsletter distribution list.

The Environment Agency has also completed a temporary repair to the breach in the flood defences along the River Douglas embankment, near Croston.

It is now working on a longer term solution, which it aims to have complete by the end of this month.

While this is a priority for the Environment Agency, the Boxing Day flooding in Croston was not caused by this breach, but by the sheer volume of rain.

Last year, planned tours around the new Croston flood defence scheme had to be postponed because of bad weather.

The Environment Agency will be re-arranging these when the weather improves.