‘It’s all systems go.’ That is the message from Horncastle Mayor Fiona Martin who has confirmed work on the town’s long-awaited flood defence scheme will start next March.
The £8.9m project - funded by a number of agencies - will bring much needed relief to hundreds of homeowners who have been affected by flooding in recent years.
The plan will see a ‘holding’ reservoir built to the north of the town in the River Bain Valley, as revealed by the News last year.
Councillor Martin - who has been a leading campaigner for new and improved flood defences – described the confirmation as ‘tremendous.’
The announcement follows a visit to Horncastle last Thursday by Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith.
He was accompanied by board members and executive directors from the Environment Agency - along with leading councillors and other officials.
Coun Martin explained Lord Smith visited a number of the town’s flooding hot-spots - including the Tesco car park at Watermill Lane.
She said he was also keen to hear about defences already in pace - and plans for the new reservoir.
Coun Martin added: “It was a very positive visit and Lord Smith wanted to see for himself the problems that we have in Horncastle – and the plans for the new defences.”
She went on to reveal a site for the ‘holding’ reservoir had been identified and that all the various legal issues involved in the project - including planning permission - were on-going.
Coun Martin said: “Everything is on course for work to start in March 2015 and that is tremendous news for Horncastle.
“The funding is secured thanks to the various agencies involved and everything else is going through at the moment.”
Cash has come from the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and the Witham Drainage Board.
Horncastle Town Council is also supporting the venture and will cover the cost of maintaining the site on an annual basis.
Coun Martin went on to reveal that some funds were also available to combat potential flooding on the River Waring which also flows through Horncastle.
Meanwhile, Lord Smith’s visit was part of a county-wide tour which saw him travel to the coast and Friskney.
Both areas were badly hit by the high tidal flooding in December when sea defences were breached - deluging homes and farmland.