Morpeth residents will be able to celebrate the completion of the town’s £27million flood-alleviation scheme at its official launch later this month.
They are invited to bring a picnic to High Stanners on the afternoon of Monday, August 24, and the Morpeth Flood Action Group is hoping that the Environment Agency will set up a helpdesk for residents during this time.
There is also an opportunity to visit the site of the large storage dam on the Mitford Estate by booking a place on the free bus tours leaving from outside St Robert’s Church in Oldgate every 30 minutes during the morning and afternoon.
Since the start of the scheme in 2013, new defences have been constructed in the town and existing ones improved.
This has included work at High Stanners to build a new flood wall and embankment along the riverside – which includes three new flood gates – and improved defences at Crawford Terrace in Middle Greens, St George’s Church and St Robert’s Church, The Chantry, Pretoria Avenue and Mitford Road.
The upstream storage area works by storing up to 1.4 million cubic metres of water when river levels are high. The dam became operational in June.
Alan Cadas, operations manager at the Environment Agency, will be at the event. He said: “Together with Northumberland County Council, we’ve worked closely with the community throughout the scheme and we recognise at times it’s been disruptive.
“I’d like to personally thank residents for all of their patience and co-operation throughout, and I hope they are now reassured that the in-town works and upstream dam are working together to give them significant protection from flooding.
“I’d encourage them to come along to the celebration event so we can take the opportunity to speak to them about the scheme and its benefits.”
Bus tours to the dam will leave every 30 minutes between 9.30am and 11am and from 3pm to 5pm.
Tours will last no longer than one hour.
The flood-alleviation scheme protects Morpeth from a one-in-137-year flood.
While the risk of flooding from the Cotting Burn has reduced as part of the scheme, there is future work to be done in this area.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “This impressive scheme will bring real benefits to residents and businesses in Morpeth.
“The council is also taking forward a project with Northumbrian Water to look at remaining surface-water flood risk and capacity of the public sewerage system in Morpeth and examine how we might further alleviate any problems.”
The picnic event at High Stanners will take place between noon and 3pm.
To book your place on a bus tour, call 0191 2034105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org