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Cannington appeals for £300k for flood scheme
CANNINGTON residents and businesses are being asked to help raise £300k towards a flood alleviation scheme – despite £3m already being allocated for the project.
The village has had to endure ongoing flood problems which reached breaking point last year following torrential downpours, resulting in 40 flooded homes, closed roads and some residents being forced to remove hedges and dig ditches.
A £3.3m flood alleviation scheme has been developed by the Environment Agency and will divert water away from the village via a new channel to the south of the bypass.
But Cannington Parish Council says funding collected so far leaves a shortfall of £300,000, and has written to businesses and residents asking for donations.
Colin Allen, chairman of Cannington Parish Council, told the Mercury: “Writing to residents is yet another way of demonstrating that we are desperate to get this scheme on track.
“We currently have sand and sandbags and an emergency phone number system in place, but we need this scheme.
“I’ve left no stone unturned and we’ve already had a £100k offer from Wessex Water, £15k from Cannington Enterprises and donations from residents. We are also applying for grants.”
But Cannington resident Roy Pumfrey has criticised the appeal. In a letter to the parish council, he wrote: “The decision of the Council to take this drastic action was a shock.
“The Environment Agency scheme may well be the deluxe version; after all, they’re not the ones being asked to shell out £300k to make it happen.
“If there was a cost overrun, would the hat have to be passed round Cannington again?”
An open day was held in March to give residents a chance to view several options to combat flooding and residents selected option seven. Mr Allen added: “Most people, around 99%, are desperately in favour of this scheme.”
The EA is contributing £2.5 million and £500,000 is expected to come from EDF Energy. A further £300,000 has actually been pledged by several companies.
An EA spokesman said: “The £300,000 shortfall referred to by Cannington Parish Council will disappear once all third party contributions are made.
“At the moment these amounts are pledges and the money has not yet been handed over.”
A full update regarding the project will be given at the next parish council meeting on September 10, 7pm, at the village hall.
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