Work to improve flood defences in parts of Skipton town centre in North Yorkshire are set to start in September and local residents and business owners are being invited to a drop-in meeting to see how it will affect them.
Four sites in the town centre have been targeted for improvements as part of the Environment Agency’s £13 million Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme. These are at Devonshire Place, where a new wall is needed on one side of Waller Hill Beck behind residential and business properties; at nearby Ginnel Mews, where an existing wall needs replacing; construction of new walls on either side of Eller Beck next to Morrison’s supermarket and minor improvement works near Spindle Mill.
The drop-in meeting will be held at the Friends Meeting House, The Ginnel, Newmarket Street between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday 11 August 2015. Members of the Environment Agency project team and representatives from its contractors, who will be undertaking the works, will be in attendance to answer any questions and to address any local concerns.
Jenny Cooke, Environment Agency project manager, said
While we there will inevitably be some local disruption during the construction period, we want to ensure that everything possible is done to minimise it.
We want to give local people the opportunity to air any concerns they may have before we arrive on site so we can take account of any issues raised before we finalise our ways of working.
The Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme will reduce the risk of flooding from Eller Beck and Waller Hill Beck which often swell very quickly after heavy rain. Two flood storage areas upstream of Skipton will be built to slow the flow of water from surrounding hills, reducing the risk of the watercourses overtopping in the town centre. Work on the first of these – at Eller Beck near Skipton Golf Club – has already begun and it is hoped that construction of a second dam across Waller Hill Beck will start later this summer.
Skipton has a long history of flooding and the cost of a major flood in the town would run into many millions of pounds, with hundreds of homes and businesses at risk. It is estimated that economic damage alone would add up to £15 million. There could also be a significant threat to human life caused by the rapid onset of flooding.
Members of the Environment Agency’s flood resilience team will also be on hand to explain ways to be prepared for flooding, including registering for the free flood warning service.
Team member Graham Lindsey said:
In June, we improved the flood warning service in Skipton in line with our latest information about flood risk from the local rivers. This resulted in more than 1,100 additional properties being highlighted, including some along Waller Hill Beck.
The drop-in meeting will be a great opportunity to come along and find out how the flood warning service works, as well as getting hints and tips about how to stay safe and be prepared for flash floods.
More information is also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188, or by visiting the Flooding and Extreme Weather section.