Shropshire flooding: Call for increased £50m flood defences to protect Ironbridge
Permanent flood defences costing £50m are needed to protect Ironbridge from flooding devastation, according to the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council.
Councillor Shaun Davies was speaking as residents of the Ironbridge Gorge were breathing a sigh of relief after the town's flood barriers had so far held firm, despite immense pressure and fears they could be overwhelmed.
Currently the defences in the gorge are temporary and have to be moved into place in preparation for flooding, unlike Frankwell in Shrewsbury where there are fixed positions – although they still require workers to put them in place.
Councillor Davies has also spoken of the need to extend the protection for Ironbridge residents, with the current barriers only protecting the town's Wharfage, leaving other homeowners to the mercy of the elements.
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He said: “Ironbridge Gorge is the home to the West Midlands' only World Heritage Site, currently we have temporary flood defences which protect some homes and houses, what we need is permanent solution which is in fitting to The Gorge.
"We will lobbying Government and seeking support for the £50m required.”
Some residents of the gorge had spoken about feeling abandoned without protection from the flooding, and Councillor Davies said it was vital that they are able to extend the defences for homeowners and businesses.
He said: "A lot of focus has been on the area the barriers have protected, but large areas of The Gorge which don’t have the benefit of barriers have been flooded."
Vic Haddock, who was forced to evacuate his home at Ladywood and had seen a £100,000 renovation destroyed, said homeowners on the Jackfield side of the town had been "forgotten about".
He said: "There’s at least three houses underwater there. We’re completely forgotten about by the council and the Environment Agency.
“If you’re putting a barrier on one side of the river you’re duty bound to put one up on the other side, especially when we’re paying the same amount of council tax and business rates as anybody else – we’re entitled to it.”
Mr Haddock, who also owns Ironbridge Canoe Hire Ltd and Atcham Canoe Hire, added: “I understand that if you live next to a river, expect to get wet, don’t whinge about it – however, if they’re doing something for one side of the river they should do it for us."
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