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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Fears Egremont flood defences do not go far enough

Permanent defences are due to be erected to prevent more serious flooding in the Egremont area where a house collapsed into the River Ehen.

Egremont river house photo
A house at Vale View was washed away last August

But the extensive work might still not be enough to reassure residents on Vale View, where Mill House collapsed last August.

Householders have lived in dread of another home collapsing due to a damaged weir failing to hold up in another storm.

‘For Sale’ notices currently hang outside two of the properties.

Divers carrying out assessments in the River Ehen after the disaster found “void gaps and soft joints” in the walls of several properties beneath the water level caused by long-term river erosion, for which house owners have to take responsibility.

The Environment Agency this week outlined its plans for a permanent flood defence at Bridge End, involving the rebuilding of a wall from the side of Hartley’s Weir to South Street bridge.

But Vale View residents’ spokesman Malcolm Mounsey said: “The work will only benefit Bridge End houses at a lower level on the opposite side of the road.

“It won’t stop us from being washed out.

“Nearly everybody’s insurance company is saying they won’t be covered so once again we’re being left high and dry.”

But the Environment Agency said: “The properties on Vale View are at less risk of flooding than others in the community.”

A spokesman said: “We are in the process of securing funding to build a permanent defence on the Mill House site and also upgrade the existing flood defences that run between Hartley’s Weir and South Street Bridge.

“A new flood defence gate will be installed downstream of the bridge to allow gravel to be removed. The proposed works will be carried out by civil engineering contractor Volkerstevin and is due to commence in the summer and last for approximately six months.

“We remain committed to working with the local community and have regular meetings with the local Flood Action Group to ensure we can maintain the existing level of flood protection to properties in Egremont.”

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