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Thatcham flood defences strengthened

Hundreds of homes to be protected

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

Thatcham flood defences strengthened

TWO schemes to help prevent flooding are well under way at Dunston Park and South East Thatcham.

Both are part of the comprehensive programme of flood defence work in response to the severe flooding that struck the town in 2007. 

The bunds at Dunston Park and South East Thatcham form part of a flood defence strategy that already includes reservoirs at Cold Ash Hill and Tull Way.

They will have storage capacities of 36,600 m3 and 14,200 m3 and will benefit 512 and 61 properties respectively.

Thatcham Flood Forum’s surface water management plan funding committee chairman Brian Woodham said: “We are delighted with the progress on these very important schemes.

“In the event of a flood, they will capture and control around 51,000 cubic metres of water and protect around 600 homes.

“Added to the previous schemes at Tull Way and Cold Ash Hill, this means that almost 1,000 homes so far will have had their flood risk significantly reduced and 125 million cubic metres of flood water held back.

“We are extremely grateful to the organisations and individuals that contributed to our fundraising campaign to ensure that the schemes were an attractive proposition for national funding.”

Mr Woodham thanked local businesses who had donated towards the scheme, including Florco, Halfway Garage, Station Tyres, the Burdwood Surgery and Waitrose Thatcham. 

He also praised the Greenham Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, the Berkshire Community Foundation and Thatcham Town Council. 

He said: “I think the point that really struck home was that central government funding for the north and west of Thatcham was in hand.

“Had we not been able to go out and raise this money then the whole of the south and east side of Thatcham would have been unprotected for the future.

“This was totally unacceptable to the community at large. 

“Without the funds that were contributed then, these schemes would never have gotten off the ground and West Berkshire Council would not have had the leverage to get their business case in.” 

The works are outlined in West Berkshire Council’s Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) for Thatcham, which was developed in partnership with the Environment Agency, Thatcham Town Council and Thames Water.

Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham town and district councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con), said: “Many residents of Thatcham will be very happy and relieved that this project is under way. 

“Once completed, around the end of this year, it will reassure people that their homes are thoroughly protected from the risk of another flood.

“I’d like to add my thanks to the people and organisations who have contributed and continue to work on delivering these two important schemes.”

West Berkshire’s executive member for highways and transport Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook) said: “The flood alleviation work for Thatcham is a great achievement, which couldn’t have come to fruition without the efforts and inputs of many local companies and local people.

“The floods of 2007 may seem like history to many, but they will be clearly remembered by the many people that were affected by them.

“Since then, the council’s highways team has been working proactively with Thatcham Flood Forum and the Environment Agency to meet our priority of developing local infrastructure and to do as much as we possibly can to reduce the risk of damage to homes should something like this ever reoccur.

“The efforts of the working in partnership have paid off and I am very proud of the work that has been done.”

Find out more about the Dunston Park and South East Thatcham flood defence schemes at www.westberks.gov.uk/sethatchamfas   

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