WORRIED residents and business owners will be offered the chance to have a major say on controversial multi-million pound plans to combat flooding in Horncastle.
The News can reveal a public forum will be held to discuss proposals for a £15m scheme which will invlove the construction of two new holding lakes to the north of the town.
The Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council, Horncastle Town Council, Anglian Water and local drainage boards will be invited to attend.
The forum comes after officials from the Environment Agency - which is leading the proposed scheme - admitted the lakes, on their own, would not have prevented flooding that caused widespread devastation last month.
Householders and businesses, still reeling from the lasting effects of that flooding, fear Horncastle will continue to be vulnerable.
Bill Aron, a town and county councillor, said ELDC had backed the idea for the forum and he expected other agencies to follow.
He added: “The threat of flooding is a big issue in Horncastle and we believe the forum is the best way ahead.
“People will have the chance to question the various agencies and form their own opinions
“I believe the plans will make a huge difference and some of the publicty so far has not helped.
“I know what the Environment Agency said but I believe the lakes will significantly reduce the amount of water coming into town. That alone might not prevent all the flooding but it will help.
”Everyone involved is trying to do their best. The forum will allow everything to be brought into the open.”
Coun Aron revealed Colin Davey, the chairman of the county council’s flood and drainage committee, had toured Horncastle’s flooding “hot spots.”
He said Coun Davey had commisioned a “comprehensive report” on the town’s problems and confirmed the council’s Highways Department was involved in a similar venture.
Coun Aron added: “There is no exact timetable in place yet but obviously we would like it to go ahead as quickly as possible. Things are happening and we are making progress.”
Proposals for the lakes were first put forward almost 30 years ago although funding is now in place.
Bill Moore, who runs Vale Livestock, a specialist agricultural company based in Hemingby Lane, questioned whether the scheme would work.
He said: “We are very concerned about the flooding, as are the other busineses in and around us.
“We were flooded last month and if it hadn’t been for the fact we used two of our own pumps, the damage would have been a lot, lot worse.
“We have spent thousands of pounds on our own defences but whether the lakes would work is questionable.
“The water will still run off the Wolds. What happens when the lakes are full, especially if there is a deluge like last month?
“I think I speak for a lot of other people when I say we all need to see the plans. I know in the Fens, for example, they have similar schemes, but I can’t see the farmers around here being particularly happy if their land is used as run-off areas - or as a site for one of the lakes.”
Mr Moore claimed the money might be better spent on improving the drains in the town.
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Weather for Horncastle
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North