More needs to be done to protect Bridgnorth from 'traumatic' flooding, says outgoing mayor

An outgoing Shropshire mayor has said more needs to be done to protect a town from the "traumatic" times experienced during severe flooding.

Bridgnorth mayor, Councillor Kirstie Hurst-Knight
Bridgnorth mayor, Councillor Kirstie Hurst-Knight

It has been a particularly unusual year in the Bridgnorth office for Councillor Kirstie Hurst-Knight, who has dealt with the challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic on top of mass flooding.

At Bridgnorth Town Council's annual meeting last week, the East ward representative said there needs to be "more thought" put into preventative flood measures.

In her report before the authority, Councillor Hurst-Knight said: "On top of the pandemic we have had to deal with flooding of the River Severn which has been traumatic to a number of residents and businesses; again the community has rallied together to support those most directly affected, but we should acknowledge that there needs to be more thought in reducing the likelihood of it occurring.

"We eagerly await a report from the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council on how that might be achieved."

Flooding experienced in Bridgnorth

She added: "The past 13 months have been unprecedented for most of us with fundamental changes to the way in which we have had to live our lives. It has been a most difficult year.

"Some have had their livelihoods significantly affected, many have had to deal with mental health issues that would likely not otherwise risen."

Councillor Hurst-Knight highlighted the efforts of health workers to deliver the vaccine programme, and turn the town's minor injuries unit into an urgent care centre.

"However, throughout the adversity there have been many who have looked to alleviate pain and stress for their fellow citizens, and for those we should be truly grateful," she said.

"We have seen the community come together, for example to clap on their doorsteps for the NHS and other key workers.

"A big thank you to Dr Swallow and his team for the vaccination roll-out and our local hospital for going from a minor injuries, to an urgent care centre.

Dr James Swallow at Bridgnorth's Covid clinic

"We have seen volunteer groups form to provide support for those in need, including delivering food parcels and collecting prescriptions for the most vulnerable and I would like to thank all for their differing contributions.

"Local businesses have looked to work together to adapt and comply with changing government advice to provide essential services to us.

"People’s habits have changed and much of that has had a positive impact on the environment and, no doubt we can learn a little that might have some lasting effect."

The mayor's report came weeks before a mass exodus of 10 serving councillors is expected.

There will be no election held on May 6 for the town council as just 13 candidates have put themselves forward for the 16 positions.

Councillor Hurst-Knight added: "As I have already said, there have been some very difficult times; some have coped well and others not so well. We have all had our own difficulties and at times we have all shown our frustrations.

"I would ask that we continue to show tolerance with each other as we hope things will improve for us.

"The town council will have a new council on May 10. We already know who the new councillors will be, I would like to congratulate those that have been elected and wish them well.

"Furthermore, for those current councillors who are standing down I would like to thank them for their service in recent years as individuals who volunteer without any remuneration, all have genuinely had the wellbeing of our community at heart."

It was agreed to adjourn the full meeting to a date when members of the public can attend.

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