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Flooding scheme designed to protect homes and businesses passes significant hurdle but more remain

A flood risk management scheme designed to protect hundreds of homes and businesses has passed a significant hurdle.

Flooding in Tenbury Wells. Picture: Environment Agency
Flooding in Tenbury Wells. Picture: Environment Agency

The Tenbury Wells Flood Risk Management Scheme has been given approval by the Environment Agency internally which clears the way to a planning application being submitted in Spring 2023.

An EA update says that there continues to be a funding gap and they are looking at ways to reduce costs.

"The project team have been working very hard on completing the Outline Business Case and are delighted to have had this important milestone signed off this month," said a spokesman.

"This means that the project has received internal approval and the development of the scheme's programme can now go into further detail, which includes the planning application.

"It is an integral part of the project development, and even though it is not visible to the public, it means that the project can continue to detail design, planning application and full business case."

The scheme aims to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Teme and Kyre Brook. The proposal is estimated to provide increased river flood protection to 120 residential properties and 145 commercial properties in Tenbury Wells.

An update to residents in the town that straddled the south Shropshire border outlines the work still to be done.

This includes working with homeowners on which property flood resilience measures may be suitable for each property surveyed.

They are also continuing to talk to the Hereford Anglican Church about the scheme's design around the riverside St May's Church and the churchyard.

"There is ongoing dialogue with the heritage stakeholders in regards to the church specifically," said a spokesman. "The other heritage sensitive areas of the scheme also continue to be addressed."

There is also work going on to develop a community-led Flood Action Plan in collaboration with Tenbury Town Council, the Flood Action Group and the fire service.

But the scheme needs a complex design to consider the heritage, history, the environment and working within the church graveyard.

And there is a continuing funding gap.

"There continues to be a funding gap, and the project team continue to explore opportunities to reduce the capital costs of the scheme and increase the scheme's benefits by working with our partners," said a spokesman.

"We also continue to explore design modifications and value engineering to achieve a viable scheme.

"All partners, including the Environment Agency, Worcestershire County Council and Malvern Hills District Council are working very hard to bridge this gap.

"We have applied for additional sources of funding which could satisfy this demand, and we expect an update on some of our funding applications soon."

But now that the scheme has passed the hurdle of gaining internal approval they "will move onto more detailed stages of the project" which includes developing a planning application, that they hope to submit in spring 2023, and building the full business case.

"The final design is still being developed, and the project team continues to consult stakeholders and landowners to work towards a final design for all locations. This will be included in the planning application.

"Our timeframes depend on a variety of factors, including securing the funding shortfall, obtaining necessary approvals, and any unforeseen engineering challenges on site. The latest estimation of our timeframe is that we hope to receive approval of the planning in summer 2023, and that the construction will begin in late 2023, which is expected to last between 18-24months."

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