Mayor demands scheme funding

MORPETH Mayor Ken Brown has written to the Environment Agency to demand funding for the town’s flood scheme.

In his letter to Agency Chairman Lord Smith and the Agency Board, Coun Brown talks of the ‘deepest concern and disappointment over the decision to delay the scheme and says it is vital for all residents and businesses of the town that it goes ahead.

He says the great risk of flooding and insurance problems will lead to a significant number of empty and unsellable properties, which will create a blight and have a negative effect on the local economy, and there could be a ‘double-whammy’ as 52.7 per cent of Morpeth residents work in the public sector and could lose their jobs.

He warns that investment and regeneration in the town could be put at significant risk if the flood scheme is deferred, while the Government’s Big Society and localism agenda would be impeded.

And he states that there is a sound business case for the scheme as its cost would be far less than that of recovery from another flood.

The letter concludes: “It is my understanding Lord Smith that you personally have always insisted that the scheme for Morpeth would go ahead.

“I do hope that you are still of that opinion.”

Members of Morpeth Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee endorsed the letter.