Homes, otters and voles will be better protected thanks to a new £1.3m flood defence scheme.

A new 950-metre flood defence barrier stretches from Wales Street to Gordon Road in Winchester and was completed by Winchester City Council and the Environment Agency this month.

Cllr Lynda Murphy, cabinet member for climate emergency, said: ‘The completion of the Durngate flood defence system comes as welcome relief to the city’s homes, businesses and historic buildings.

‘These works provide flood defences for the heart of our city, adding to the already completed works that help defend residents in Water Lane, St Bedes School and the North Walls area.

‘During what has been a difficult time for everybody in the face of the pandemic, it is a considerable achievement to complete the project on time and on budget, and especially welcome as we head into the wetter months of the year.’

The new scheme provides three sluice gates capable of holding back up to 250,000m3 of water, equivalent to 3.2 million bathtubs.

Last year around 70 properties, both residential and commercial were impacted by surface-level flooding when it hit the city centre on August 27.

Off-site environmental work was carried out at Clausentum Fen and The Nun’s Stream which should have a positive impact on biodiversity while also providing flood refuges for voles and otters.

The scheme was jointly funded by Winchester City Council with £800,000 coming from the Community Infrastructure Levy and the Environment Agency which contributed £548,000.

David Martin, Environment Agency flood risk manager for Hampshire, said: ‘The Environment Agency has invested over £1.3m to reduce the risk of flooding in Winchester since 2014 and we are extremely proud to have worked alongside ‘Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council to ensure the successful delivery of this project.

‘The scheme is an important step towards reducing the disruption and impact of flooding on people and their property.’