Thatcham businesses praised for flood defence donations
Scheme will be a ‘tremendous legacy’
THATCHAM businesses and residents have been praised for donating much-needed funds to protect the town from flooding.
West Berkshire announced last week that it had received £4m of Government funding to construct reservoirs at Dunstan Park and south-east Thatcham.
The ponds are part of a plan drawn up to prevent a repeat of the devasting flooding of 2007. Familes, schools and businesses were affected by flash flooding, with more than 1,000 homes flooded out.
A basin at Cold Ash Hill was completed in 2014 while work on a £1.2m scheme in Tull Way is underway.
The money was awarded after Thatcham Flood Forum successfully raised the £200,000 needed to unlock the government cash. The Greenham Common Trust donated £50,000 and agreed to match fund every £10 of public donations.
Four local businesses also contributed to the scheme. The Burdwood Surgery; Halfway Garage in Pipers Court; Florco in Aylesford Way and Station Tyres in Pipers Way all donated.
Practise manager at Burdwood, Kamal Bahia, said that a lot patients had been affected by the floods and it was a good cause to donate to. Staff were also unable to leave because the surgery had been surrounded by floodwater.
Residents, many of whom were affected by the 2007 floods, also donated to protect the town. Residents also donated their green tokens to Waitroses’ Community Matters scheme, raising £389.
Thatcham Town and West Berkshire Council donated £30,000; Southern Electric Power Distribution £20,000, with £10,000 from the Berkshire Community Foundation.
The forum’s funding committee chairman, Brian Woodham, said: “It was very important to show that local people and local business and organisations were demonstrating their support and this undoubtedly helped West Berkshire Council to show there was a strong community desire to get this finished.
“We are delighted. We saw what happened in 2007 and never wanted it to happen again. When it’s finished it will be a tremendous legacy to leave for future generations and a personal relief to many in the town. We are extremely pleased to have got this far.”
Mr Woodham said that if the government money had not bee received then the east of the town would have been completely exposed to a repeat flood.
He said: “It means that Dunstan Park is fully funded for what they need to complete it in 2017 and south east Thatcham will be done by 2018. By the end of 2017 the bulk of the floodwater that could enter the town will be held back and by the end of 2018, the remaining water will be getting down to the south east scheme.”
West Berkshire Council’s member for emergency planning, Garth Simpson (Con, Cold Ash), said “The impressive effort made by the Thatcham Flood Forum and local partner organisations to raise around £122k has been a vital element in receiving the grant.”