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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Cumbrian town raises £215,000 to build flood defences

More than £200,000 raised by people and businesses in Cockermouth was presented to the Environment Agency to help fund the town’s flood defences.

Cockermouth flood defences photo
Craig Cowperthwaite, from the Environment Agency, points out some of the flood defence improvements to Lynda Cameron, Sue Cashmore and Jack Abernethy

The £215,000 was raised by a collective of Cockermouth people and businesses making it one of the first flood defence schemes to use a Partnership Funding model, and is the final amount needed to make up the £4.4 million scheme.

The money has been collected from various sources, including £120,000 raised from a council tax levy over the last three years, a grant of £3.3 million from the Government, and contributions from Cumbria County Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria Floods Foundation.

The defences include a self-closing flood barrier, several stretches of flood wall, raised embankments, glass panels and flood gates.

Sue Cashmore, chairman of the Cockermouth Flood Action Group, presented the cheque to Craig Cowperthwaite, senior flood advisor for the Environment Agency, along with Linda Cameron and Jack Abernathy, both of the flood action group.

She said: “It’s fantastic that through working in partnership we have a flood protection scheme in place that may otherwise have not been possible. This is the result of much hard work and I’m proud of the commitment shown by the Cockermouth Flood Action Group and local community.”

Mr Cowperthwaite said: “Hopefully it’s something [the defences] which will have longevity for the benefit of the community, and it looks good as well.

“The gap of £1.1 million was very real. If the community hadn’t helped us bridge the gap, the scheme wouldn’t have been possible.”

He added that the defences are on course to be completed by June or July this year, with work still be finished on flood walls behind Jennings Brewery and a flood barrier at Rubbybanks Road.

Once built the scheme will reduce the risk of flooding to 360 homes and 55 businesses.

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