FLOODING: Dam scheme was a mistake

The letter from Lynda Martin of Morpeth Flood Action Group (Morpeth Herald, July 30) is inadvertently an admission that the group, the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council made the mistake of spending taxpayers’ money only to alleviate flooding by constructing a flow restriction in the River Wansbeck upstream from Mitford and erecting flood walls in Morpeth.

The latter simply allows the river level to rise as and when required.

In his letter (Morpeth Herald, July 23) Paul Christensen, quite correctly, tells us: “That when rain falls it has to go somewhere.”

But that which Paul omitted was that in urban areas it should be allowed to flow to the sea with as little restriction as possible. Which is more effective, to pull the plug out of a washbasin, or to restrict the flow of water from the taps?

The answer to Morpeth’s drainage needs is, of course, to lower the level of the river by deepening, straightening and, in parts, widening all the way to the mouth so that at times of excessive rainfall, the river level would remain low enough for the Cotting Burn and other drains and tributaries to flow into it.

Now Morpeth’s latest mistake is that of allowing development of the ex-Davidson’s site, instead of keeping it as the site of the south end of a bridge to replace the wonderful ancient, but crumbling and overworked Telford Bridge.

It is not yet realised that Morpeth is no longer the agricultural market town of only 35 years ago. Now it is a dormitory town where people like to live, and so developers, who are in business to earn money, need land on which to build more suburban sprawl.

Unfortunately, the excuse for not allowing development on the grounds of drainage problems will not hold good forever. It is so sad that the flood alleviation scheme will become inadequate and therefore obsolete in such a short time.

Infrastructure, in order to be cost effective, must be planned for the long-term and not just for a rainy day.

Norman Bateman,

Low Espley.