£100,000 to tackle floods

WORK will start this month on a £100,000 project to tackle longstanding flooding problems.

Heavy rain can cause Tunstall Farm Beck in Hartlepool to flood roads and the gardens of properties in the Valley Drive area of the town.

A seven-week project will see two shallow clay-lined water storage areas, which will look like two grassed hollows in the ground, built upstream of Valley Drive.

The new project will see excess water in the beck diverted into these two areas, where it will be held until the beck level has reduced.

The two storage areas will only fill during heavy rain.

Conservative councillor Ray Wells was joined by residents living in Valley Drive and Hardwick Court when they appeared in the Mail saying they feared a proposal to build homes near the beck as part of the council's 15-year core strategy could make the flooding worse.

They said heavy rain sees the beck that flows down Valley Drive become flooded during periods of heavy rain, along with the fields to the west of Valley drive.

The work is being funded by the Environment Agency's local levy and will be supervised by Hartlepool Borough Council's engineers.

The local levy is raised by the Northumbria Regional Flood Defence Committee through local authorities to fund local flood risk reduction schemes.

The footpath which runs alongside the beck will be temporarily diverted while the work is being done.

Dennis Hancock, the council's principal engineer, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Environment Agency to tackle the

flooding problem and we are grateful to them for funding the work.

"A public consultation event which we held last October about the plans showed strong support for the project from local residents."

Mark Hazelton, Environment Agency project manager, added: "We have been aware of flooding problems in this area for some time.

"We are pleased to have been able to secure funding and design an effective scheme that will go a long way to protecting properties in the Valley Drive area.

"This type of solution has been used in other areas of the North-East, including Belford and Hepscott, and has been very successful in reducing the risk of flooding.

"The Valley Drive area lends itself to this sort of project and the landowner has been very supportive.

"Hartlepool Borough Council has been very active in ensuring that the scheme is a success and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the council for its efforts."