Locations for surface water plans are revealed

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Hotspot areas have been identified in Morpeth as work continues on plans to tackle surface water issues.

During the drop-in at the Town Hall on Monday, Northumberland County Council unveiled initial proposals – developed in partnership with Northumbrian Water – to better manage this risk.

They involve improved drainage within the highway at Middle Greens, Copper Chare and Dark Lane, surface water interception and storage at Mitford Road and Morpeth Common and an emergency pumping facility at the entrance to High Stanners.

The Environment Agency also gave residents an update on a scheme to construct an upstream storage area on the Cotting Burn, on a smaller scale but similar in design to the one that has recently been completed on the River Wansbeck.

The news on these developments has been welcomed by the Morpeth Flood Action Group, but members have concerns about the impact of new housing schemes in the town and an area that was not included in the county council’s plans.

Chairman Alan Bell said: “We’re pleased that progress is being made on these important issues, although we still need more detail about the surface water schemes and how they will be funded.

“And we’re worried that these works could be out of date when you consider the effects of the new housing developments and bypass project in the north of the town.

“We’re not happy with the surface water aspects of the housing developments, including the cumulative effect on the Cotting Burn.

“The technology that is being used for this can work in theory, but there is uncertainty when you get to the nitty gritty of putting it into operation.

“Carlisle View was considered as a priority area for the surface water works, but it is no longer on the list so we will provide further information about it to the county council.”

He added that the group wants residents to get in touch if they are still having insurance problems or if they have been successful in getting their premiums reduced – go to www.morpethfloodaction.org.uk to submit information.

Subject to Environment Agency approval, the detailed designs for surface water works will be developed throughout the year, with a view to beginning construction in the autumn.

The main construction works for the Cotting Burn scheme are due to start in early summer and will take about six months to complete.

An agency spokesman said: “Since September 2008, there has been some extensive repairs and improvements along the Cotting Burn.

“This includes removing 11 skips worth of debris from culverted sections, which was restricting the flow and reducing the capacity of the burn, and repairs and refurbishment of the culvert between Dawson Place and Wellway.

“Manhole covers have also been secured so that they do not open during heavy rain, with the final one in Copper Chare recently completed.

“Having this new storage area in place means that the Cotting Burn will have more capacity during high flows and be better able to cope with blockages that may occur.

“The result will be that residents are further protected – with the new scheme providing a one-in-100-year standard of protection from the risk of fluvial flooding.”

It will also install a series of debris catching poles in the River Wansbeck upstream of Lowford Bridge between July and September.