Permanent flood barriers for Bewdley rubber-stamped by council chiefs
Permanent flood barriers will be built in Bewdley after the plans for the long-proposed scheme was rubber-stamped by planning chiefs.
The Environment Agency (EA) is set to push ahead with the roughly £6.2 million scheme at Beales Corner – with main construction work set to start in July this year.
The area has become a notorious spot for flooding over the years, with residents urged to evacuate their homes in February last year.
But now there is hope the issue will become a thing of the past after the complex project was backed by Wyre Forest District Council's planning committee on Tuesday.
Anthony Perry, EA operations manager for the West Midlands, said: "We are delighted to have been granted planning permission to build this much-needed flood risk management scheme for Beales Corner and look forward to getting started on the construction. Flooding can be devastating, and this scheme will help to significantly reduce the risk of flooding to the town.
"I would like to thank many public bodies, utility companies, local councillors, politicians and the local community for all pulling together and working with us on this much needed scheme. It will enhance Bewdley and improve many peoples’ lives for generations ahead. It is heart-warming the way that everyone has pulled together to help with it."
The project will replace the low-level temporary flood barriers currently use and will provide a far higher standard of flood protection.
Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said: "Flooding can be a traumatic experience – and it’s something that residents and businesses in Bewdley have endured far too often over the past few years. I have witnessed this for myself on a number of occasions.
"This is a positive step which should help give the community some comfort about their town’s resilience. It forms part of our record investment on flooding, building on our previous £2.6 billion funding which better protected more than 314,000 homes across England."
Work is due to start on the main construction of the scheme in July and some preparation work is already underway as vegetation is being removed alongside the river and utilities infrastructure is being moved.
Councillor Rod Stanczyszyn, who is on Bewdley Town Council and is mayor of the town, said: "The residents of Bewdley have been asking for a permanent flood barrier at Beales Corner for many years. Ever since the dramatic and unexpected failure of the temporary “pallet” barrier in January 2021, it has been obvious that this type is completely inadequate.
"Bewdley Town Council are now delighted that the Environment Agency, after many consultations with partners and residents, have finalised plans for a wall and glass panel barrier. The council fully supports this application."
It is believed the barriers – which have been long called for by residents and politicians in the area – could resemble those currently in use in Upton-upon-Severn.
Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, has previously welcomed the progression of the complex scheme – and said he would like to invite former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allocated the funds for the project as he promised to "get Bewdley done", for the official opening if allowed.
Meanwhile the EA has pledged to plant five times as many trees in the area than the number removed in the construction. Nesting boxes for bids and bats will also be installed in time for the nesting season in spring.