Hundreds of homes and business are now benefitting from improved flood protection after the Environment Agency officially opened the scheme.
Guests were invited to a special event on Friday 30 June to mark the completion of the final phase of construction for the £7 million defences.
The market town of Northwich suffered serious flooding in 1946 and more recently in 2000 and 2012. This has caused distress and financial impact for residents as well as costing millions of pounds worth of damage to homes and businesses.
The new scheme reduces flood risk to almost 400 homes and businesses as well as 3 development sites in Northwich, Cheshire. It is the result of close effective partnership working between the Environment Agency, Northwich Town Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Northwich BID and the Canal and Rivers Trust, as well as local businesses and the wider community.
The scheme itself is made up of 1.7km of flood defences using a combination of flood walls and embankments, along the banks of the River Dane and River Weaver. To ensure that Northwich’s historic facade is kept intact, the project has used high quality finishes on the walls and state-of-the-art solutions including glass panels and floating ecosystems in order to reduce the visual impact of the defences. In addition to fixed flood defences, the scheme will also use demountable defences and flood gates across key footpaths and highways.
Lee Rawlinson, Environment Agency Area Manager, said:
"This scheme will help to keep the local community protected while at the same time helping to safeguard the economic investment in the town, and the permanent jobs created as a result. Northwich is at risk of flooding from the Rivers Dane and Weaver and the construction of this flood scheme will reduce the risk to nearly 400 local homes which equates to protecting more than 1,000 residents and further businesses. Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working tirelessly to encourage development in the town and by reducing the risk of flooding, we can further boost the confidence of potential investors and ensure Northwich continues to prosper during, what are, challenging times."
Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Chester West and Cheshire Council, who officially opened the scheme, said the flood defence project would play a key role in the town’s continued economic growth. She explained:
"Recent public investment in Northwich includes £35 million for the capital works to stabilise the town from subsidence, and future growth plans include £100 million of private investment and £15 million of public investment. The partnership work undertaken during the last few years will help to put Northwich in a much better economic position for the future and will help to support inward investment."
Even with new flood defences in place, the risk of flooding can never entirely be removed. It is important that residents prepare in advance. They can start by telephoning the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 to find out if they can sign up for free flood warnings.
Information about preparing for flooding, including how to check your flood risk, develop a flood plan and putting together a flood kit is also available online.