Residents in the village of Slyne-with-Hest whose homes and businesses have been threatened with flooding for over 60 years are now enjoying much better protection following the completion of a £495,000 alleviation scheme.
The low-lying area has a long-standing problem with flooding, the first incident being recorded in 1952.
More recently, serious damage to properties was narrowly avoided during winter 2008 thanks to prompt action from the fire service to relieve the drainage system by pumping water back into the canal.
Lancashire County Council has recently finished work to increase the capacity of the drainage system in Slyne-with-Hest thanks to a successful bid to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for £475,000 which was topped up with a £20,000 contribution from the county council’s own budget.
The completed scheme is the result of a long process of partnership working after the opportunity to relieve flooding in the village was realised during planning for the Heysham to M6 Link Road which is due to be completed in summer 2016.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning, and cultural services, said: “I’m very pleased to see this project completed which must have brought great relief to people in Slyne-with-Hest, particularly during the very wet weather in recent days.
“During prolonged periods of heavy rain the drainage system has not been able to cope, causing the water table in the Hest Bank Lane area to become saturated and, at times, cause extensive flooding to property, cellars and gardens, as well as the road network. The surface water flooding also lead to the sewers and the foul water system overflowing.
“The problem was investigated over a long period and it was realised that the solution lay in increasing the capacity of the culvert under Hest Bank Road – however the scale of the work could not be met from the council’s normal budget.
“The Heysham to M6 Link Road provided part of the solution, as a large section of the existing culvert under the A6 Lancaster Road needed to be upgraded to accommodate runoff and provide an outfall for surface water from the new road.
“This made it economically viable to fund further improvements to the drainage system in area of Hest Bank Lane, and we’re very grateful for the support of the Environment Agency in making a successful bid to Defra to fund most of the work.
“The work itself has been very difficult due to the presence of utility services, with 72 crossings of utilities needing to be carefully manoeuvred around to install the upgraded pipe. The design and construction has been carried out by the county council’s own highways teams, who have done a great job to complete such a complex project.
“We’re very grateful for the emails and card received from residents expressing their thanks for this scheme. I’d like to thank the residents for their patience and cooperation while this work has been carried out.”
It has been estimated by the Environment Agency that the flood alleviation scheme will be worth over £2.8m in benefit to the community by preventing future incidents.
A temporary surface is currently in place on Hest Bank Lane, with the road due to be fully resurfaced next summer.