Bury is to receive £7 million towards drawing up a comprehensive flood defence plan for areas hit by the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
More than 700 houses and businesses in Radcliffe and Redvales were directly affected when Storm Eva brought unprecedented flooding of the River Irwell, along with a major power cut, disruption to roads and damage to the sewage treatment works.
Since the floods, Bury Council has been working with the Environment Agency to explore ways to better protect the area. This has included the potential development of a new £46 million flood defence scheme, protecting 870 properties.
The council had pledged £2 million towards the cost of new defences, and the Government’s announcement that it will now provide £7 million to bridge the gap in the cost of the project means that the Radcliffe and Redvales scheme can now move into its next stage.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “I am delighted by this news. Finally, after many months of lobbying the Government, we are at last being promised the money we need to take our flood defence plans forward to protect our residents from the sort of devastation that they suffered nearly three years ago.
“While the physical damage caused by Storm Eva may no longer be visible, the emotional and physical scars still remain for those people affected. It is vitally important that a flood protection scheme is put in place as soon as possible, in order to give them peace of mind.
“It should never have taken this long to get what our residents deserve. It is now imperative that no more time is wasted and work gets under way on bringing these essential defences to Radcliffe and Redvales.”
He said the flood defence scheme would play an important part in the ongoing regeneration of Radcliffe, a major part of which involves the creation of new homes to complement a range of town centre redevelopments.
Councillor Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, added: “Storm Eva brought unprecedented levels of flooding to Bury, forcing scores of local families from their homes and causing hundreds more to lose their personal and valuable possessions. While thankfully no one lost their life or was seriously injured, it has taken many months for residents to recover from the impact of the flooding.
“Communication and engagement with local people is vital. With the Environment Agency, we will continue to involve residents closely in the planning and design process of the defences.”
The preferred option for flood defences in Radcliffe and Redvales, as discussed with the local community, features a flood balancing pond at Swan Lodge as well as cutting off flow routes under the Metrolink embankment at Lower Hinds and raised flood defences at key locations along the river’s edge between Warth Mill and Close Park. A key aspect of the scheme will also be the creation of wildlife habitat and amenity areas for the public by setting defences further back from the river where space allows.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “This funding is fantastic news for Radcliffe and Redvales and ensures that our plans for flood defences within the area, as discussed with the local community, can progress to the next stage.
“Since the devastation caused by the Boxing Day Floods in 2015, we have been working alongside Bury Council to provide increased protection to the residents of Radcliffe and Redvales and securing this funding is an important step to ensure our local flood resilience is both in place and improved.
“The future flood scheme will increase the level of protection to 870 residential properties while creating new habitat for local wildlife populations and bringing more green spaces to the community. We are delighted to be able to share this good news with the residents of Radcliffe and Redvales, and going forward, we will continue to work with our partners to look for opportunities to reduce the risk of flooding and provide support for our at-risk communities across Greater Manchester.”