October 1st, 2016

Anger at flood prevention cutbacks in Rubery

Updated: 11:15 am, May 07, 2015

PENNY PINCHING on flood prevention measures could ruin a project to bring relief to Rubery residents, a councillor has claimed.

Despite recommendations for three balancing ponds to be built off Callowbrook Lane, North Worcestershire Water Management has only proposed for two to be installed.

In the past few years nearby residents have had to leave their homes on numerous occasions for up to, in some cases, 12 months.

More than £53,000 in funding was secured to bring relief to the people whose homes had been repeatedly ruined by floods.

In total, £21,000 was spent on conducting detailed surveys while the remainder was set aside to build the defences.

Coun Peter McDonald said the last minute decision to cut back on the proposed ponds, ignoring experts’ advice, would put the success of the project at risk – ‘all for just a couple of thousand pounds’.

He added he was shocked and bitterly disappointed after so much money was spent on surveying that the recommendations were not even being listened to.

Coun McDonald said if the project did fail, to return later to build the third pond would be expensive.

And, it would be more cost-effective to build them all at the same time while the machinery needed was on site.

He added he had spoken to the leader of the county council who was now going to investigate the matter.

Coun McDonald said: “In this day and age of cutbacks it is unlikely should the project fail with just two balancing ponds the monies will ever be found to develop a third.

“At the moment it is a joint scheme between the county council, district council and the North Worcestershire Water Management (NWWM) and they should know better than to penny pinch on a project of this importance.”

A NWWM spokeswoman said the results of the study had shaped the scheme’s final design.

She added the project’s proposal was being considered for planning permission and was expected to cost about £90,000 – which would be mostly funded by a grant from the Environment Agency and contributions from Bromsgrove District Council and Worcestershire County Council.

She said the two proposed balancing pools next to the brook would provide 7,797m3 of flood storage.

And, while a third pond was considered they decided because it would only provide an additional 310m3 of storage, at an estimated additional cost of £15,000, it could not be justified, so could not be paid for by the Environment Agency’s grant.

She added councillors and affected residents had been invited to a meeting to be fully updated on the proposals.