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We need more help to counter flooding
10:00am Monday 14th January 2013 in News
AN Upton businessman has called for more areas of the town to be protected from the risk of flooding
The town’s £4.4 million flood scheme was praised by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin but Al Walker, the manager of Clives Fruit Farm, Upper Hook Road, wants more to be done.
Mr Walker said the farm remained open for business despite being cut off from the town since Wednesday, December 19, and that 24 pigs were moved to higher ground after their pen became saturated.
But he wants areas such as Hanley Road, which has several businesses on it, protected because they are cut off by flood water.
He said: “Our biggest concern is that the flood defences have protected certain parts of the town but Archimedes wasn’t a fool, water has to go somewhere.
“Is the Environment Agency going to invest in building defences for Countrywide and the Regal Garage (on Hanley Road)? Is there any chance of a levee for the outer-lying properties of Upton?”
Anthony Perry, area flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said the existing defences had worked very well but there were no plans to extend them because of high costs and for engineering reasons.
“The town would have been flooded twice in the last two months and access in and out of the town would not have been possible at all without the flood scheme – at a time when businesses would have been reliant on Christmas trade.
“When we carried out the flood scheme for Upton, we did assess the viability of also protecting properties along Hanley Road.
“Unfortunately, because of the high cost of doing this, it was not possible to provide protection to them.”
A glass-topped defensive wall on Waterside has defended 64 properties during five different floods since it opened in July, and an earth embankment, flood wall and flood gate in New Street offer further protection.
It is estimated the defences have prevented £1.6 million of damage for each flood.
Water levels peaked at 5.08 metres at the town’s Hanley Road and Rectory Road on New Year’s Eve, with flood warnings for the town removed on Saturday.
* Upton’s flood gates were re-opened on Monday following the recent flooding.
The gates at the bottom of New Street, part of the town’s new £4.5 million defences, have been keeping water at bay over the past few weeks.
But they were re-opened at about 7pm after water levels subsided.