A ceremony took place on Friday 28 February in Godmanchester, marking the official completion of Godmanchester’s flood risk management scheme.
The ground was first broken on Friday 25 May 2012 by Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, and Steve Wheatley, Chair of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, who was instrumental in securing approval for the scheme.
The scheme includes a combination of flood walls and flood embankments alongside the River Great Ouse. The construction work was managed by Jackson Civil Engineering and included the erection of a flood wall in the rear gardens of private homes which back onto the river Great Ouse on Post Street.
Dr Geoff Brighty, Area Manager for the Environment Agency said: “Seeing this flood risk management scheme to completion is a great achievement for everyone involved, but particularly for the people of Godmanchester. We have had extreme weather across the country in the past two years, reminding us that many communities are vulnerable to flooding. Today we mark the moment when this historic town’s defences, that will protect people and property, lives and livelihoods for many years to come, were completed”.
The town, which had no formal defences, came very close to being flooded in 1998 and properties within low-lying areas are considered to be at significant risk of internal flooding.
The Environment Agency has been working with the Regional Flood & Coastal Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council since 2009 to agree an appropriate way of protecting properties in the town. The scheme was finally approved in January 2012.
Now complete, the new defences will increase the level of flood protection in Godmanchester by reducing the risk of flooding from a 1 in 20 year event to a 1 in 100 year event. The scheme will provide flood protection to 556 properties.
Steve Wheatley, Chair of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee said: “Flood events across the country earlier this year have shown again the devastation and misery that flooding brings to people.
“It is fantastic to see the successful completion of this scheme, which will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in Godmanchester. I thank all those involved – the Committee and the County and District Councils for providing funding, the Environment Agency officers, Atkins the design engineers, Jackson Civil Engineering and, particularly, the local residents for their support and co-operation in making this happen.”
Councillor Ian Bates, one of the Cambridgeshire County Council representatives on the Flood and Coastal Committee said, “This flood relief scheme will bring great benefit and peace of mind to people living in Godmanchester. By working together in partnership with other organisations such as the Environment Agency and the District Council, we are able to bring forward such major schemes which would be beyond the resources of a single organisation such as the county council, particularly in times of financial restraint. In total Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council contributed £350,000 towards the cost of this important scheme.”
The scheme cost £6.8M to construct and was jointly funded by Defra, Local Authority Local Levy, direct contributions from Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council and private resident contributions.
Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council said: “This is an exemplar example of strategic partners working together to make a positive contribution to the lives and businesses of Godmanchester. We have been pleased to not only support this scheme, but to contribute financially to ensure that this vital defence against flooding has been delivered.”