WORK to alleviate flooding problems has been slammed as a “complete waste of public money” by a senior councillor.
In 2011 the Environment Agency (EA) worked with Hartlepool Borough Council to create two flood storage areas on the beck near Valley Drive, in Hartlepool, at a cost of £110,000 in an effort to prevent flooding in that part of town.
Bosses at the EA and council said the sheer volume of water in recent days exceeded the capacity of the storage ponds which were intended to prevent flooding of homes. They added that they can never “eliminate” the risk of flooding.
But Conservative group leader Ray Wells has hit out after the road and gardens in Valley Drive suffered heavy flooding.
Coun Wells said: “This is a complete waste of public money.
“I queried the engineers at the time and I equated it to sticking a bucket under a leak because once that bucket is full, then the water will overspill. That is exactly what has happened with the so-called holding ponds at the end of Valley Drive.
“The Environment Agency knows fine well that the road is flooded because of the lack of capacity in the Valley Drive beck, and to solve this problem would cost millions of pounds.
“It is for this reason that I was opposed to any extra housing at the end of Valley Drive as it would exacerbate the problem.”
A council spokesman said: “The main aim was to reduce the risk of flooding to properties in Valley Drive and it certainly stood the test this week as no properties were flooded.”
An EA spokesman said they were aware some roads and gardens had flooded but had not received any confirmed reports of flooding of homes.
The spokesman added: “The scheme was designed to protect 28 properties from flooding by storing water during high river levels.
“The storage ponds did store water during the recent heavy rainfall but the amount of rainfall exceeded their capacity.
“We can never eliminate the risk of flooding but we can carry out work to reduce the risk.
“It is likely that without the storage ponds then several properties would have flooded.
“Another river, the Tunstall Farm Beck, was also high and feeds into the Burn Valley Beck downstream of these storage areas. This will have contributed to flooding of roads.
“We have worked closely with Hartlepool Borough Council to reduce the risk of flooding in this area, and will continue to work with them to review the effectiveness of storage areas.”
The scheme was paid for by the Regional Flood & Coastal Committee through Local Levy funds.