Shrewsbury MP calls for £20m flood defences to be greenlit

The MP for Shrewsbury says that £20m flood defences for two areas of the town should be built as a priority.

Flooding minister Rebecca Pow meeting with Mark Barrow from the River Severn Partnership, and Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski
Flooding minister Rebecca Pow meeting with Mark Barrow from the River Severn Partnership, and Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski

Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski met with Flooding Minister Rebecca Pow in Parliament on Monday to discuss flooding schemes for the county.

They were joined by Shropshire Council's executive director of place, Mark Barrow, who is chairman of the River Severn Partnership, and staff from the Environment Agency for the meeting.

The meeting comes after Mrs Pow revealed last month that two flood defence schemes for Shrewsbury – for Coleham and Coton Hill – would cost around £20m.

The Environment Agency is working on a larger, long-term plan for slowing water down throughout the River Severn, with the ambition of preventing the flooding that has blighted homes in Melverley, Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, and Ironbridge, as well as further along the route.

Flooding Minister Rebecca Pow with Daniel Kawczynski MP, on a previous visit to Shrewsbury

All three areas have been hit for three years in a row.

During Monday's meeting Mrs Pow said that work on the overall plan could cost up to £500m.

Mr Kawczynski said that while he welcomed the long-term ambitions, progress should be made on the two Shrewsbury schemes which could have a more immediate impact.

He said: "I am supporting Mark Barrow and the Environment Agency, saying we understand you are all working towards funding the long-term solution to managing the river but in the meantime until we figure out how to do that we need a solution to help in Shrewsbury because many businesses and residents – three years in a row have flooded.

"I am sure we will flood next year and I see the sheer impact on local hotels, businesses and residents, and this is why it is important to get the £20m for the short-term flood defences in Shrewsbury at Coleham and Coton Hill."

He added: "They are still coming up with all sorts of proposals for the wider catchment-wide washland schemes, collaborating with the Welsh Government for schemes on that side of the border in the way we can actually manage the flow of the River Severn.

"But while we are working for that long-term solution it will inevitably take time and there are still specific immediate measures that need to be taken into consideration for Shrewsbury, whether that is at Coton Hill, Coleham, or Attingham Park."

In a letter earlier this year Mrs Pow said that schemes for Coton Hill and Coleham would protect around 150 properties.

Shrewsbury Business Chamber (SBS) then spoke in support of the plan for fresh flood defences, outlining how they would would have a far greater benefit than protecting 150 properties.

In a letter, Charles Howell of Cooper Green Pooks, executive board director of SBS, said: "While the sums involved – at least £20 million – in the two projects mentioned are relatively large amounts for ‘only’ about 150 properties it must be remembered that they are in key access points to the central area so that the investment in these locations will enhance the whole of the town’s economy by way of a ‘multiplier effect’."

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