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Friday, 25 April 2014

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£4.4m Cockermouth flood defences set for go-ahead

Long-awaited flood defences to protect Cockermouth from further tragedy are set to be approved.

November floods photo
Main Street, Cockermouth

Allerdale councillors will discuss the £4.4m plans at a meeting on April 10.

If they give their backing it will mean hundreds of homes and businesses will soon be safe from flooding.

The measures – recommended for approval by council planning officers – would involve building new earth embankments and flood walls, raising existing flood walls, installing new flood gates and flood-proofing properties along the rivers Derwent and Cocker.

Work, to be carried out in stages, is scheduled to start immediately, subject to permission being granted.

It already has the backing of Cockermouth Town Council and other bodies.

But the town’s Civic Trust and the National Trust have raised some concerns about the impact of the works on historic properties, particularly Wordsworth House.

A report to councillors states: “The proposal seeks to provide a package of flood protection measures for the town of Cockermouth to provide protection for a one-in-100-year event. This would not provide sufficient protection for an event similar to 2009, which was an event of a much greater magnitude – in excess of a one-in-450-year event.”

The November 2009 floods hit 537 properties and many businesses are still recovering from the devastation.

The town has flooded several times in recent years.

There have been 14 floods in Cockermouth since records began in 1761.

Sue Cashmore, chairman of Cockermouth Flood Action Group, said: “We just hope common sense is applied and it all goes through. We just want to get these flood defences up and the town back to normal. There is a high level of anxiety in the town when it rains. Once we get them built we can move on from being the town that flooded and hopefully people will start to see Cockermouth in a different light.”

The work would be paid for with a £3.3m Government grant, plus a further £1.1m raised locally through grants. Cockermouth Flood Action Group and Cumbria Community Foundation will make a contribution, as will residents through council tax.

The plans show enhanced defences from Victoria Road bridge, along Rubbybanks Roads to the Cocker’s confluence with the Derwent. They continue along the Derwent beyond Harris Bridge to Low Sand Road.

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