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£500k of flood defences to finally protect residents
IT IS one of Southampton’s most flood-hit roads.
But today residents in Priory Road in St Denys are celebrating after the council received £470,000 to carry out flood defence works in their street.
Workshops for residents, a new team of flood wardens and physical flood defences will all be funded by the grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The city council is one of 13 authorities across the country to benefit from the £5 million cash boost to protect homes and businesses from flooding.
Priory Road is one of the most flood-affected roads in Southampton, and experienced major flooding in both 2005 and 2008.
The problems have occurred when the River Itchen has overflowed into the back gardens of homes on the street, and also when drains have overfilled due to rain water and flooded Priory Road.
But the Government cash will help fund surveys of the road as well as mapping tools and a community flood risk report.
The city council also wants to raise residents’ awareness of the risks of flooding through community events and a newsletter being sent round.
A group of flood wardens will be formed, and flood prevention measures will be installed after the surveys have been carried out.
Residents have welcomed the news, but are divided on how they think the funding would be best spent.
Some say drains on Priory Road should be improved, while others think new river defences should be installed.
The council’s Cabinet member for the environment, Asa Thorpe, said: “This announcement is great news, especially at a time when reports of severe flooding elsewhere in the country are a cause of great concern.
“Working with the National Flood Forum, we will be able to use this money to understand the local risks better, identify vulnerable properties and raise awareness in the area about flood risks.
“We hope that improved knowledge will help prepare residents and businesses in case the worst should happen, and help them take preventative measures to help themselves.”
Cllr Thorpe said a project board to oversee the scheme will be set up in May, while a residents’ working group will be formed later in the summer.
Installation work for defences will take place in October next year and the entire project is expected to be completed by February 2015.
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