£15m defence scheme will not stop town homes flooding

A MULTI-MILLION pound flood defence scheme for Horncastle would have helped, but not prevented the tide of devastation and misery that swept through the town two weeks ago.

Businesses and homes were flooded after torrential rain hit areas of Horncastle, leaving a trail of damage running into thousands of pounds.

There were genuine fears the town would flood again last week when some businesses and homeowners were still coming to terms with the havoc – and still trying to contact insurers.

The new defence scheme – which will cost £15m and has been in the planning stage for more than 30 years - is seen as vital to plans to prevent further flooding.

The Environment Agency has admitted that while the scheme would help alleviate problems on the rivers Bain and Waring, “on its own” it would not have prevented the most recent flooding, which was caused by surface related water, or the floods of 2007.

An Agency spokesman told the News: “The most recent flooding in Horncastle was surface-related flooding as a result of intense, localised rainfall in a very short space of time. There was no known flooding from rivers.

“The planned flood storage scheme for Horncastle will significantly reduce the risk of flooding from rivers and assist better drainage into rivers but, on its own, would not have prevented the kind of flooding experienced recently.”

The Agency is leading plans for the proposed scheme, which will see the new lakes constructed to hold back the threat of potential flood water from the two rivers.

Local councillors Bill Aron and Fiona Martin, speaking during a tour of the latest flood victim’s homes, called for work to start as soon as possible.

The Environment Agency confirmed funding was in place but refused to give details of a likely start date.

The spokesman added: “We have identified sufficient funding for the Horncastle flood alleviation scheme from national Grant-in-Aid funding supported by funding from the local levy and our partners, Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and Witham 3rd Drainage Board.

“We are developing the business case for the scheme, which we will be doing in this financial year (2012/13), and we will use information gained previously to inform this detailed design and planning will then be progressed, prior to construction.

“We are working with Horncastle Town Council’s Flood sub-committee and will keep the local community informed on progress as the scheme develops.”

Because of the planning process - and other factors - the News understands it could be 2014 before work starts.

But Coun Martin revealed she has official correspondence from various agencies dating back 30 years, suggesting work would start imminently.