Major flood project on track for 2014 finish

The Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme is entering its final stages.

And although work is taking longer than expected in High Stanners, the overall project is due to be completed by the end of the year.

The construction works across the town centre and the building of a large dam on the Mitford Estate should protect properties from flooding to a one-in-137-year event, the same as the 2008 flood.

They began in February 2013 after a long delay because the scheme was hit by cuts to the Environment Agency’s budget. Changes to the funding system meant Northumberland County Council was able to come on board to provide around half of the total.

A spokesman for the Agency said that the town works are expected to be finished in October and the dam should be completed in December.

Of specific areas in the town centre, he said: “We are now flood tight in High Stanners and are progressing with the final finishes. This has been delayed due to sourcing natural stone to clad the flood gates.

“The seeding of the High Stanners open space is due to start next week. This is going to be done by hand as we have been unable to get machines on due to the wet conditions.

“The weeds have been sprayed and the planting on the dry side is currently being organised with a separate landscape contractor and should be completed in the coming weeks.

“The works at the Chantry are almost finished, with only copings to be placed in the next fortnight.

“The hard landscaping is complete and then the planting is to be carried out in the next month by the county council.

“The works at the Terrace Car Park are complete and works at St George’s Church to tie into this are progressing well. The works in Collingwood Terrace and at St Robert’s Church are complete.

“Works at Pretoria Avenue have commenced and are progressing well.”

The organisation has put forward a design for a floodwater storage dam on the Cotting Burn that would provide protection to a one-in-100-year flood standard.

It is set to be determined by a county council planning committee on July 3.

In addition, a scheme to address surface water flooding problems in several locations across Morpeth is being progressed by the council.

A spokeswoman for the authority said: “The details are currently being developed and we are working to identify a suitable funding package to enable the works to progress.”

Project manager for the Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme, Anthony Myatt, admitted in April that its overall cost will exceed the original estimate of £21million by £4million to £6million.

More information about all these developments is available at the Environment Agency’s information centre on Newgate Street.

It is open on Tuesdays, from 1pm to 5pm, Wednesdays, from 9am to 1pm, Thursdays, from 2pm to 6pm, and Fridays, from 9am to 1pm.