Morpeth residents had the opportunity to see the ‘last piece of the jigsaw’ for Morpeth’s £27million flood alleviation scheme earlier today.
As well as a drop-in event at the Town Hall showing the various works carried out for the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council project, a bus took people who booked in advance to the site of the Cotting Burn dam.
Although smaller than the large upstream storage area on the Mitford Estate, it is an important facility as it will provide protection for the 80 to 90 properties as risk of flooding directly from the burn.
The new dam recently became operational after the construction works were completed earlier in the summer.
The Environment Agency’s Alan Cadas, operations manager in the North East, said the screen on the dam prevents debris from Cotting Wood from reaching the culvert and causing blockages and there are also tree poles in place ahead of the dam to catch large items.
It has the capacity to store up to 8,500 cubic metres and the water would form a small lake.
He added: “It’s brilliant to see the last piece of the jigsaw going into place, which means the flood alleviation scheme is now finished.
“In saying that, our teams will be carrying out maintenance across the sites in Morpeth on a regular basis.
“The site for the Cotting Burn dam was very wet at the time we were aiming to start the construction works, so we had to wait until it had dried out enough, and the fact that it’s at the bottom of a steep bank meant it was a tough job for the team.
“But we were able to achieve what we set out to build and speaking to members of the Morpeth Flood Action Group today, they are delighted that this added protection for households near the Cotting Burn is now operational.”
It has been renamed The Hargreaves Dam in memory of Morpeth resident Jon Hargreaves, a former Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee chairman, who died in October last year.
As well as the dams, the scheme involved building walls and/or embankments at the following locations: High Stanners, Mitford Road, Oldgate, by The Chantry, Low Stanners and Middle Greens.
Last year, tree poles were installed into the river near to Lowford Bridge to prevent large debris from reaching the town centre.
Coun Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We’re delighted this major joint scheme to protect the people of Morpeth is now complete.
“This was a great example of agencies working together on a hugely ambitious engineering project and the fact it has already been used more than proves its worth.
“One of the cornerstones of the scheme has been the help and support of the local community and their input and engagement has been absolutely invaluable throughout.”
Separate work by the county council to address surface water flooding at several locations in Morpeth is under way and scheduled for completion by March 2018 at a cost of about £1million.
This is being financed through a Government grant from the Environment Agency and county council funding.