THE blueprint for how Carlisle will be defended from the storms of the future has finally been revealed - with protection said to be at Storm Desmond level.

Phase two of the city’s £25m flood defence works has been published, as work prepares to begin in Bitts Park next week.

But, despite 1,000m of new flood walls and defences being built, campaigners and flood victims still believe they do not go far enough.

The second phase of the city’s major new flood defence scheme is on track to begin next week, and will involve reducing the flood risk to 50 residential homes and a further 33 other properties, including the Sands Centre and Civic Centre.

It will also reduce the flood risk to Hardwicke Circus, Castle Way and the A7 over Eden Bridge, providing much more resilience to the city’s key transport routes.

The flood defence works have been described by Carlisle Flood Action Group chairman John Kelsall as “not going far enough” in addressing the true scale of the risk posed by the River Eden. “It seems they are still looking at defence and protection, not ways to improve rivers in the city,” he said.

“We are keen to see all of the River Eden managed in the best way possible. Phase two doesn’t seem to have much in it apart from raising a wall 2mm.”

Mr Kelsall does recognise that any work to protect the city is a good thing but would like to see more done from the Environment Agency to prevent flooding and mange the rivers.

Stewart Mounsey, the Environment Agency’s flood risk manager for Cumbria, said: “Our contractors will be on site from next week so people will start to see things really moving. Phase one is about Melbourne Park and that’s progressing really well, it will be ready for this winter.

“Phase Two is the Sands Centre, Hardwick Circus, Bitts Park - there are already defences there, but they were overtopped in Storm Desmond so we have reassessed them and where needed we will top them up. Ultimately this will give people flood protection to Storm Desmond level which, across the county, is one of the highest that there is.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson praised the decision to improve Carlisle defences against future floods.

“I am delighted that they are on the way, but I appreciate that people would have liked them to happen more quickly,” he said.

“We’ve had two traumatic floods in Carlisle; it’s been an ongoing issue with the Environment Agency.”

He continued: “I liaised with flood groups in Carlisle and the Environment Agency, watched what they’ve been doing and encouraged them to get on with it.”

Mr Stevenson added that the city will not be impervious to flooding, but those new defences will prevent a situation as severe as the 2005 and 2015 floods.

Cumbria’s Museum of Military History, based in Carlisle Castle, has been hard-hit by flooding in the past.

Museum assistant Nick Hazel said: “We get very cut off here: the castle becomes an island surrounded by the flood.”

Carlisle Castle provided support to the public during the 2015 floods.

Nick said: “When it last happened we were helping people out, because our internet comes by wire from Solway Communications.”

Although the castle is on high ground, the museum is still affected by the city’s floods.

“Even though we’re well above it all, we do get affected because the infrastructure get’s affected,” he said.

“Some improvements on the flood defences can only benefit us: t means car parks won’t get too flooded.

“Carlisle being flooded also affects tourist’s perspective of what the city is.”

Eric Martlew was one of those badly hit by Storm Desmond and, although he welcomes any sort of flood defences in the city, he doesn’t feel it is enough.

He said: “From where we live they haven’t started work yet, and we don’t know when they will start work so we are talking about going into another winter -the fifth without any flood protection.

“It’s obviously good to see that parts of the city are being protected and it’s good to see work starting. But the problem is it should have started a long time ago. We have just had a couple of very wet months and the fear is the ground is going to be saturated.

“The fact we haven’t got the flood defences is diabolic but you have to welcome the fact it’s starting and it’s better late than never.”

To see what phase two includes go to