A NEW £450,000 flood protection scheme to protect the village of Winterbourne in the event of heavy rainfall has been unveiled.
The flood alleviation bund, or reservoir, situated to the north of the village, had its grand opening at the weekend with Newbury MP Richard Benyon performing ribbon-cutting duties.
West Berkshire Council has been working in partnership with a team of residents from the parish who, following the disastrous 2007 floods, raised funding to help the council and Environment Agency (EA) pay for a study and preliminary design of a flood alleviation scheme for the village.
The study highlighted the benefits of a flood storage area upstream of the village and, with approval from the EA, the council started work on the detailed design and subsequent construction of the scheme.
Winterbourne parish chairman, John Hayward, said it had taken time, patience, hard work and a considerable amount of discussion over the last seven years to put this important scheme into action.
He added: “There is now good reason to celebrate the completion of the bund.
“We don’t want it to rain, but if it does at least we are now safe.
“We are proud to have played a key part in this project and very grateful to the council and all other parties whose input made this happen.”
West Berkshire Council said the 2.4m high bund and realigned diversion channel would “impound overland flows” coming down the Winterbourne stream during storms or heavy rainfall and discharge it at a controlled rate through the village.
West Berkshire’s executive member for highways and transport, Jeanette Clifford, said: “I’m delighted that we were able to assist in providing Winterbourne with this important flood alleviation system.
“The residents of the parish of Winterbourne are to be applauded for all their hard work in getting this project started. It is a great illustration of the power of the community.”