Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Donyatt villagers fears after flood relief plan rejected
11:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
VILLAGERS fear what the winter may bring after a bid to protect homes and businesses in Donyatt from flooding was turned down.
Parish councillors applied for a £120,000 share of the £200,000 flooding fund to build a relief pipe which would take water away from the old bridge in Church Lane, but their idea was rejected by Somerset County Council, which said there are not enough contractors to carry out the work.
Parish councillor Bill Porritt worked on the application with the chair of the parish council, Lynn Mortimer, and said the pipe is sorely needed to help the bridge cope with the flow of water during heavy rain.
When the river overflows floods cut off access to farms and force the closure of the A358, sending HGVs on a 14-mile detour.
Bill said: “The narrow arches of the bridge form the choke point for the water, and when we get too much water coming down from the catchment area it builds up.
“Owners of the dozen properties near the village hall have to put sandbags up, and for the farms on the northern eastern side of the river this is their only access to the outside world, so when they do their milking they can’t get their milk away, and that’s a major problem.
“We realise it was amajorbit of expenditure, but that’s what we needed to relieve the problem and the potential savings are quite great.
“In the next budget round I’ll talk to officials and make sure, if there’s more funding, larger funding, to approach them again and possibly remind them that we were disappointed the first time round.”
A county council spokesman said: “We’ve allocated 34 grants this year which will help protect 173 homes, a village hall and a school, and include worksuch as clearing streams and repairing flood defences.
“We assessed Donyatt’s bid for the entire £120,000 cost to widen a culvert, but it would have meant most of the 34 schemes we’ve approved would have been rejected instead.
“There was £200,000 set aside for this fund and many of the successful projects are costing less than £5,000, giving good value for money.
“Approving the bid for Donyatt would have also meant trying to fit a major piece of highway work into the programme for this financial year.
“We’ve already asked our contractors to undertake a lot of work and they’d struggle to include this, too.
“The scheme could not open before the local elections in May. The application period was set at nine weeks to give parishes plenty of time to submit bids and allow work on approved projects to be completed before winter.
“It’s the first time we’ve offered this scheme and decided not to define strict criteria so we could draw in as many bids as possible.
“We received more than 100 requests, so we had to make many difficult decisions about which ones received grants.”
Comments are closed on this article.