Carlisle’s future flood plans will prevent a disaster like Storm Desmond ever happening again, defence experts say.

Opinions were divided when more than 150 residents met with environment bosses to discuss the city’s flood plan for the future, at the Environment Agency’s drop-in session at Brunton Park on Wednesday night.

Staff were on-hand to explain what the plans will mean for Carlisle, as well as to answer questions about their perceived effectiveness.

For the last four years, the Environment Agency (EA) has been working to develop a plan that will help to prevent another flooding disaster like Storm Desmond. The EA says that the plans will prevent flooding to the level of Storm Desmond, but admitted the reliability of the defences when faced with even greater flooding is unknown.

Stewart Mounsey, Environment Agency flood risk manager for Cumbria, said: “We’ve had about 170 [people] down, which is really good. This is our provisional option for Carlisle flood risk management defences.

“We have been designing and working with the local community and particularly the owners of property around Melbourne Park and Warwick Road.

“Phase one and two will be in the centre of town, then three and four will be the lower and upper Caldew.”

Mr Mounsey added: “People are supportive, they want to see action on the ground as soon as possible. We want construction to start this summer, this [consultation] is an integral part, in terms of moving forward with the plans.

“Many people have been frustrated by the fact it has taken three years, but we have to make sure the system is right.”

Phase one is expected to be completed by 2020, phase two by 2020/21, phase three by 2021 and phase four 2021/22.

“I think it is very positive,” said Mike Kingston, of Rickerby, who went along with his colleague David Viles.

“If everything goes through as it is expected to, it will certainly benefit the area.”

Esther Nicholson, of Appleby, said: “I am frustrated that all the money is going on hard flood defences, but I suspect they don’t have the technology and the evidence of soft flood defences.”

John Kelsall of Carlisle Flood Action Group, said: “It is generally sound, but we could do with a bit more of it.”