This week saw the official opening of Much Wenlock’s flood alleviation scheme.
On many occasions over the years, Much Wenlock has suffered surface water flooding. This has usually occurred when there has been a heavy summer downpour combined with the ground being either waterlogged, or being baked hard and unable to absorb the water.
The most recent events were in 2000, and in 2007 when 64 properties were flooded. I have personal experience, having seen the financial and emotional cost of flood water pouring through homes, destroying furnishings and fittings, electrical circuits, gardens and at least one motor car. Both insurance premia and property values were put at risk, as well as the uncertainty of when this might occur again.
Much work was undertaken by the Much Wenlock flood management group volunteers in conjunction with the Town Council, of which I was then a member. Together with Philip Dunne MP, we held a meeting with Shropshire Council, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water in 2010. As chairman of the flood management group, I presented a manifesto that had been drawn up by the Town Council working closely with the volunteers. There followed a “Flood Fair” where the issues were fully discussed and where local residents could discuss flood resilience with experts.
In short, the outcome was the Much Wenlock Integrated Urban Drainage Management Plan. This set out the need for flood attenuation* on the Sytche and Shylte brooks which are mostly culverted (i.e. under roads and properties) through the town. In flood conditions, the culverts have insufficient capacity to carry the water and it “overtops” – most obviously at The Pound in Victoria Road. These culverts meet in the field adjacent to the Bull Ring and feed into the Farley brook which joins the River Severn at Buildwas.
The flood attenuation* pond scheme in The Sytche and at Stretton Road has been completed at a cost of £2.1, funded mainly by the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council. This short video clip gives an explanation of how it works.
*Attenuation is the process of water retention on site and slowly releasing it in a controlled discharge to a surface water or combined drain or watercourse. The amount of discharge will vary depending whether it is a brown or greenfield site.