Lancaster businesses urged to invest in their future flood protection

Flooding on Caton Road during Storm Desmond.
Flooding on Caton Road during Storm Desmond.

Lancaster City Council is asking businesses on Caton Road to contribute towards a major new flood relief scheme, or risk being left defenceless.

Plans have been submitted to build a flood defence wall along the banks of the River Lune to prevent similar large scale flooding to that which occurred during Storm Desmond in 2015.

Although funding of around £7.4m has been secured to build the defences, there remains a significant shortfall.

So far five private businesses on Caton Road have committed to invest £335,000, but this still leaves £1.2m of the £9m total cost of the scheme to be found.

Agricultural and rural supplies business Carrs Billington, which has a base on Caton Road, has agreed to contribute towards the scheme.

Lloyd Whiteley, chairman of Carrs Billington Agriculture Operations Ltd, said: “Carrs Billington Agriculture fully supports this initiative to improve Lancaster’s flood defences.

“The damage caused to our business in December 2015 was considerable and could easily have been far worse. Since then there have been several “near misses” when the river has risen to near flooding levels.

“If we are to avoid further flooding in the future, it is vital that the river Lune’s flood defences are improved and we would urge other businesses located in the affected area to also give their support to the council’s scheme.”

Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, added: “This is an important scheme and by strengthening the riverside flood defences will protect one of Lancaster’s most important commercial areas.

“We’ve managed to secure a lion’s share of the funding but this still leaves a funding gap.

“Several businesses have agreed to contribute because they realise that they are investing in their own future by preventing future flooding, but we need more to come forward.

“Unless we’re able to plug the shortfall the scheme will be in danger of not going ahead.”

The current breakdown in funding for the defences is:

*North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (£2m)

*Environment Agency Grant in Aid (£2.3m)

*European funding (£3.1m)

*Private businesses (£335k)