Bridge Street Close, Cockermouth (Community Flood Protection Scheme)
Thousands of homes were left flooded after Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in parts of the UK on the 5th and 6th of December 2015. Record breaking amount of rain fell in Cumbria (341.4mm in a 24 hour period) on ground already saturated by heavy rain, causing widespread flooding.
Many areas in Cockermouth were flooded and Newground on behalf of the Environment Agency has been working with the residents of Bridge Street and Bridge Street Close to explore options for a community flood scheme to better protect their properties. This was made possible through the flood resilience grant from Allerdale Council and the flood grant from Cumbria Community Foundation.
Although Bridge Street and Bridge Street Close are very close to the RIver Cocker, it was surface water coming from Main Street that caused flooding. Most properties flooded to a depth of 18 inches.
The community flood scheme brought about a number of challenges that all needed to be addressed in order to secure funding. The challenges included:
- Gaining agreement from all the residents for the scheme.
- Ensuring all residents had applied to Allerdale Borough Council for property level protection.
- Ensuring the flood protection equipment was suitable, temporary and easy to deploy.
- Formation of the residents association and gaining affordable public liability insurance for Bridge Street/ Close Residents Association (BSCRA).
Newground approach and solution
Newground has been supporting the residents and working through various options to enable the flood protection scheme to move forward. Newground has been instrumental in liaising with the Environment Agency and Local Authority and provided support for the joint funding application to Cumbria Community Foundation. In addition Newground met with the supplier of the temporary roll out barriers along with the residents to ensure this type of equipment was suitable for Bridge Street/ Close.
Newground has ensured all residents are signed up to the Environment Agency flood warnings service and are working through the formulation of a community flood plan, drawing on various expertise within the group. Newground will be assisting with Bridge Street/ Close Residents Association when they carry out training days so the group is aware of how to deploy equipment.
How we made a difference
All properties now have utilised their £5,000 per property flood resilience grants and installed property level protection that includes:
- Flood barriers
- Automatic airbricks
- Non return valves on pipework
- Sump pumps
The community flood scheme successfully applied for just over £17,000 was funded through Cumbria Community Foundation and includes:
- 2 x roll out flood barriers
- 2 x diesel pumps
- 4 flood barriers for garden gates
The resident’s from the 15 properties in BSCRA now feel that they are better protected and have a much better understanding of flooding in the Cockermouth area. As a constituted group they feel they will be able to communicate better with external agencies and will be able to work together to reduce the impact of flooding on their properties.
“The project we undertook to develop a Community Flood Project to further protect our properties in Bridge Street and Bridge Street Close has been lengthy and complicated. There have been technical issues and many Agencies and Authorities we have had to liaise with. Newground’s experience of flood related issues and in particular your contacts with the Environment Agency have been invaluable. Thanks again for all your help and support.”
Gerry Woodcock, Chairperson of the Bridge Street/ Close Residents Association