£6 million barriers plan gives new hope to flood-ravaged Bewdley

There is a new hope for homes and businesses along the River Severn after the announcement of funding for flooding protection.

MP Mark Garnier and flooding minister Rebecca Pow in Bewdley, which is to get new flood defences by 2024
MP Mark Garnier and flooding minister Rebecca Pow in Bewdley, which is to get new flood defences by 2024

Homes and businesses in Bewdley, which have suffered from two substantial floods in a year, are set to be better protected after it was announced that a new flood defence would be put up in the town.

The £6.2 million development will better protect 31 homes and more than 150 businesses from flooding and will be the beginning of a long-term commitment by the government on flood defences.

The announcement of the plan, which would be installed at Beales Corner by the end of 2024, was made by flooding minister Rebecca Pow and Environment Agency operations manager Anthony Perry on a visit to the town on Tuesday.

The minister was shown the area where the proposed defence would be installed by Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier and members of the Environment Agency, and was excited to speak about the plans ahead.

She said: "This is a really exciting day for Bewdley as we're able to announce £6.2 million of flood funding to get Beales Corner protected from flooding.

Mark Garnier and Rebecca Pow in Bewdley

"Almost 40 homes and about 150 businesses will be protected from this funding package of measures and it will look after those people who, far too frequently, have been flooded in what has been a complicated area to protect.

"It's good to see things on the ground and I know that Mark Garnier has worked so hard to raise this issue and has shown me how devastating it can be for the people affected by flooding."

Ms Pow said the defences at Beales corner were the first of a £20 million investment along the Severn catchment area and spoke about ensuring the flood defences were in keeping with how Bewdley looked.

She said: "This is a beautiful place and an absolute honey pot for visitors, with fantastic heritage, so that has to be kept intact.

River Severn flooding in Bewdley

"Residents won't want to see big concrete barriers in front of their beautiful Tudor homes, so it makes it challenging, but that is why a lot of detailed work has to go into it beforehand."

Mr Garnier said the investment in Beales Corner was a long time coming and spoke about the plans for the flood defences.

He said: "There's still quite a lot of engineering works that have got to be worked out, because this is quite a significant thing.

"What we're proposing is where we can to have permanent barriers, rather like what we see in Upton-upon-Severn, where you have a wall, but we also don't want to block out the views of the lovely scenery here.

River Severn flooding in Bewdley in January

"They're going to be these demountable barriers, similar to the ones we have on the western bank, so there's a lot of complicated work to come with digging the foundations and not disrupt the services running down the roads."

Anthony Powell said he was delighted to have the funding coming in for the flood defences and spoke about the improvement it would have to quality of life in the town.

He said: "Knowing that these flood defences are going to be here and can withstand the weight of the water against them will help give the residents here more peace of mind.

"It really will improve the quality of life here as this is not going to be a short-term project and we will be working with the community to ensure disruption is limited during construction.

Flooding caused huge problems in Bewdley

"It's not just about protecting the community from flooding, it's also about being sympathetic to the built environment."

For residents, visitors and business owners in Bewdley, the news of the investment in flood defences on Beales Corner was seen as great news and a real boost to the community.

Irene Boxton, who lives right next to the river and was a member of a flooding committee, said it was something which was desperately needed.

The 70-year-old said: "I just want it built to help me feel safer in my home as the last two floods have been really scary.

"If they can do something similar to what they've done in Upton, then that's fine with me, but I just want it to happen to stop the flooding which has happened before."

Michael Wall from Alveley was visiting Bewdley and the 66-year-old said it was good news that the area was finally getting the defence it needed.

He said: "It's really good to hear about this as this town has suffered so badly in the past with flooding, so any sort of defence is a good one.

"I hope they build something which matches how the town looks as I'd hate to see a wall that blocks the view, but at least something is coming."

For Chris Shaw, manager of Merchant's Fish Bar, the news was good as the 33-year-old said it would benefit the whole community.

He said: "For Beales Corner, it's such a shame what has happened with the flooding in the past and it's needed a proper defence for the longest time, so this is positive news.

"When the flooding happens, it affects the whole town as we get cut off, so the plans sound good to me and I think the defence will have a great knock-on effect for everyone here."

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