Could £700,000 bid by Norfolk County Council help to end some of the misery of flooding at the Welney Washes?

23:45 18 April 2014

The flooded Ouse Washes, at Welney, earlier this year.

The flooded Ouse Washes, at Welney, earlier this year.

Archant

A £700,000 plan to raise the road level through Welney Washes – and partially end the misery of closures because of flooding- has been unveiled by Norfolk County Council.

Tom McCabe, the council’s interim director for environment, transport and development, said a bid has been submitted to the Environment Agency to help pay for the work.

He said the agency’s ‘grant-in-aid’ funding scheme could provide some of the money needed to deliver improvements.

“We have included an estimate in the bid, amounting to £700,000 for the construction of a raised road level to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in the current frequency of flooding,” he said.

The figures have been based on recent flooding statistics which show the A1101 through Welney to have been closed over 5.5 weeks per year on average between 2010 and 2014.

Mr McCabe said that he hoped 23 per cent of the improvement scheme costs could from the Environment Agency “with the remainder funded from other sources”.

He said the funding requirements will be discussed at a meeting on May 16 with NW Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss.

The county council bid was revealed in a letter sent to NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay who joined the campaign to improve the road through the village.

“Many constituents, in particular those in and around Christchurch, face significant disruption from the increasing number of days the Wash Road is closed at Welney due to flooding,” he said.

“This results in a massive detour at significant cost in fuel and time. I promised to lobby Norfolk County Council to speed up their investigation of the cost of a road improvement scheme at Welney and I am now pleased to report that Norfolk County Council has agreed to submit a bid to the Environment Agency for funding, and will also be taking this proposal to the Regional Flood Committee.”

He said: “There is still a long way to go but it is a positive step forward. The electric signs have also now been installed.”

Mr McCabe said that having bid for a capital scheme “there remains a requirement to fund the feasibility study which will confirm the costs and benefits of the improvement scheme.”

He said the county council intends to ask the Regional Flood and Coastal committee to support the feasibility study and further talks are planned that include the commissioning of any consultants that might be required.

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