Revised plan for Calstock flood defences put forward

Thursday 29th March 2018 5:00 am
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A REVISED plan for flood defences in Calstock has been put forward by the Environment Agency.

In November last year, the Environment Agency presented initial proposals at a public consultation to create a new flood defence embankment in the fields inland of the existing river bank defence, where there is a much loved river walk.

The proposals involved a 30 metre breach in the existing bank to create a new reedbed habitat, without which the new flood defences would not be fundable.

Concerns included that there was no money in the proposals to bridge the gap in the river bank walk and that a field used for various activities, including the annual bike show, would also be flooded.

Then, at the beginning of February, Calstock Parish Council held its own consultation morning to find out what residents felt about the plans — and more than 100 people attended.

Alastair Tinto, the councillor leading for the parish council on the issue, said: ‘Many people said that they appreciated the opportunity to comment.

‘As a result of the feedback it had, the Environment Agency has continued with its supporting investigations and revised its plans. It has now put forward a scheme that meets many of the concerns of local people. The amenity field would no longer be flooded, the endangered properties and community assets would still be protected and it looks possible that money might be available within the scheme to contribute towards a walkway over the 30m breach in the existing riverbank.’

Calstock Parish Council met on Wednesday, March 14 to consider the consultation day report and the recent developments.

Julian Brooke-Houghton of the Environment Agency reported the latest plans to the council.

Cllr Tinto added: ‘A lot still needs to be sorted out, especially about how the breach in the bank will be bridged and by whom and who will manage it once work is done.

‘However, the parish council congratulated the Environment Agency on listening to local people.’

The council added that it supported the general direction that the agency was taking and would work with the agency, Cornwall Council, South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray and other interested parties to take the project forward.

Ms Murray has had two meetings with Calstock residents and councillors which have also involved the Environment Agency. She said: ‘I am keen to continue to work with both the Environment Agency and the community within Calstock to overcome issues relating to flooding in the area.

‘I know the area well as my father originated from Calstock and have many happy memories visiting my grandparents at the old bakery in Tamar View.

‘I am pleased that Calstock Parish Council welcomes the fact that progress has been made in forming a plan with the Environment Agency and I am keen to continue to work with all concerned until the best possible solution can be found.’

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: ‘With the current flood defence embankment at Calstock coming to the end of its working life, the Environment Agency worked up proposals for a new defence which would incorporate the creation of reedbed habitat without which funding for the work would not be possible.

‘We asked the local community for its views.

‘Although there was a lot of support for a new habitat there was concern that its creation would require the creation of a 30m breach in the river bank along which a popular walk runs and there was no money in the scheme for bridging that gap.

‘There was also a desire to retain a field which is occasionally and informally used for local events.

‘The agency listened to the views expressed and current proposals allow for the retention of the field, footpath and crossing provided that a partner organisation can be found for this part of the project.

‘We are working with the parish council and local community to find ways in which the funding can be secured.’

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