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News release from The Environment Agency
Plans for the next phase of the £46m Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Risk Management Scheme to reduce flooding in two high risk areas have now been submitted to the Local Planning Authority.
The Environment Agency has worked in close partnership with Rochdale Council to put forward the planning application for the first phase of the wider scheme which will include flood defence walls, bridge removal and enabling works.
A range of measures have been suggested to reduce the risk of flooding across Rochdale and Littleborough including a new flood storage area at Gale, as well as raised walls and improvements to culverts and bridges in areas including Greenvale Brook, Town House Brook, Ealees Brook, Buckley Brook and Hey Brook.
These plans include both parts of the two-step process that has been developed to create what will eventually become one of the largest and most complex inland flood risk management schemes in the north of England. Once completed, the Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Alleviation Scheme will improve flood protection for 1,000 residential properties and 200 local businesses as well as major infrastructure such as the tram network, the bus interchange, colleges, a grid substation and the waste water treatment works.
The scheme also complements a flagship Natural Flood Management programme. Rochdale Borough Council has been working with Mersey Forest, to carry out ‘Slow the Flow’ measures in the upland areas around Littleborough where a number of smaller scale ‘natural’ flood risk management such as log dams and tree planting could help to hold more water back from watercourses and drainage systems during times of flood risk.
The proposed works for the Phase 1a planning application include replacing the existing bridges (both the highway and pedestrian bridges) at Riverstone Bridge off Stubley Mill Road, Littleborough to support widening of the existing River Roch channel to allow more water to flow.
This will improve conveyance of the River and assist in reducing water levels locally to reduce flood risk. To ensure ease of access and minimal disruption to residents, the Environment Agency have confirmed that the works in this area will be undertaken substantially “off-line.”
If approval is granted for Phase1a, the scheme will progress into the next steps by submitting a business case approval and further planning applications for the additional phases. In order to gain community opinions on the progress of the scheme, the Environment Agency and Rochdale Council will be holding a drop-in session on Monday 3rd February.
Held at Hare Hill House on Hare Hill Road in Littlebrough from 3pm-7pm, the drop-in session is the latest stage in the public engagement for the ongoing scheme works and will give residents an opportunity to share their views on the construction works and ask any questions to the project team.
The upcoming drop-in session will also give residents the chance to hear directly from the project team about what work will be carried out in the future and provide further information about the schedule of works. Environment Agency officers and representatives from Rochdale Council will be on hand throughout the event to discuss and answer any questions residents may have.
Nick Pearson, Senior Advisor in the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Management Team, who is leading on the scheme said: “This planning application is an important step in our commitment to providing Rochdale and Littleborough with the level of flood defences it needs.
“If it is approved it would mean we can get on with tasks such as finalising the business case, which is vital to provide residents and businesses with reassurance and confidence as we increase the level of flood protection to both areas. The joint project team have worked hard to get to this point but we are still keen to understand what the public think about the proposed works. We encourage residents to come along to the drop-in on the 3rd February to find out more.”