£6m flood allieviation scheme in Haydon Wick is finally unveiled
A MULTI-MILLION pound flood defence scheme in North Swindon was officially unveiled yesterday.
The Haydon Wick Flood Alleviation Scheme has been designed to protect surrounding homes after many were flooded during heavy rains in 2007.
More than £6m was spent on the scheme which will protect 118 houses, four businesses and electricity sub-station from heavy rain storms.
Work has been taking place over the last 18 months, which has involved laying 4km of sheeting, rebuilding five footbridges and replacing hundreds of trees and thousands of plants.
Crowds gathered yesterday to watch the formal unveiling of the scheme by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.
He said: “As a local resident myself and a former borough councillor I know just what a huge project this is. It has cost £6.6m and needed 18 months of heavy construction but has transformed the area from being able to cope with a one in every five year flood to a one in every 100 year flood.”
One of the main driving forces behind getting the project off the ground was late former mayor Rex Barnett, who along with other councillors pushed to secure the funding needed.
Mr Tomlinson said: “It’s really sad that Rex was not here to see this project completed. Rex always had a smile on his face, except on this issue, and it was his drive that made this happen.”
Funds for the majority of the scheme came from the Environment Agency but £500,000 was provided by the council.
Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the scheme open but it’s a shame Rex is not here as we both worked together on this. He and I put a lot of time and effort to work with residents to get this done so I’m really pleased to see it completed.
“People have had to put up with a lot over the last 18 months but I think they will be pleased with the outcome. They can now sleep with ease next time the rains come.”
After the official unveiling, residents were given a tour along the scheme to see the work for themselves, with most pleased with what they saw.
Yvonne McCracken, of Coriander Way, said: “I’m so pleased this has been built, I’m now hoping it does the job. I’ve not been hit but my neighbour has been flooded five times. The work they have done looks fabulous and the Environment Agency were great throughout the building.
“They had to do work in some peoples’ gardens and they have done a really good job replacing everything.”
The Environment Agency has said it will not just walk away from the project and has scheduled two visits per year to cut away any overgrown plants and make sure the drain is unblocked.
David McKnight, one of the project managers, said: “This has been a massive project and it is not over yet. We want to thank all the residents who have been very accommodating throughout the build but I think they will be really happy with the outcome.”
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