Mixed project news

WORK is progressing well on some areas of the Morpeth flood alleviation scheme.

But the Environment Agency has revealed that there have been delays at two of the locations – Mitford Road and the new flood wall at the Chantry.

The £21million project, in partnership with Northumberland County Council, finally got underway earlier this year and it will include an upstream floodwater storage dam on the Mitford Estate, upgrades to existing defences and new flood walls and embankments.

At Mitford Road, workers are in the final stages of cladding the walls at the rear of properties and once this has been completed, they will then install the back-of-wall drainage and garden reinstatement works will also take place in the coming months.

However, an agency spokesman told the Herald that there were some issues with a sewer which needed diverting and other factors have caused delays, including the need for gas works.

As a result, the planned completion of Mitford Road has slipped back from January to March.

Of the situation at the site near the Chantry, a newsletter to residents says: “Unfortunately, works to build the new flood wall in this location came to a halt as we found what we suspected was cement-bound asbestos.

“We have since arranged for a specialist contractor to come and remove the asbestos so that work can resume as soon as possible.”

There is better news in other areas, including High Stanners where the walls will soon be completed and the storage dam.

The newsletter says: “Work at the dam site is progressing well, with water from the River Wansbeck now being directed through the temporary channel.

“The river is a stronghold for our native crayfish and we have rescued hundreds of this species and other fish in recent weeks.

“Now that the river is diverted, we can begin to construct the dam, which will be made up of 80,000 m³ of clay and hold 1.4million m³ of water back over 1.6 miles of the valley.”

Issues of surface water are being looked at as part of the project and works will also be carried out at or near a few water courses, including the Cotting Burn.

The newsletter says: “We are currently looking at providing upstream storage for the residents at risk of flooding by the Cotting Burn through building a small dam upstream to hold back the floodwater.

“We are currently designing the structure and talking to upstream landowners about how to bring this about, but in the meantime residents there remain at risk.”